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Help Wanted: Economists, Crime and Public Policy

  • John J. DiIulio
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    Beginning with Gary W. Becker's (1968) article on crime and punishment, economists have contributed important theoretical insights and empirical findings to the study of criminal behavior but the influence of economists on crime-relevant research and over policy debates remains negligible. This essay summarizes some basic data on the causes of crime, the social costs and benefits of incarceration, and replenishing social capital. Work on crime by economists should become influential in setting research agendas and shaping policy debates but economists will have to roll up their sleeves, complexify their models, and confront a real-world 'prisoner's dilemma' or two.

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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.10.1.3
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    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

    Volume (Year): 10 (1996)
    Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
    Pages: 3-24

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:10:y:1996:i:1:p:3-24
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.10.1.3
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    1. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
    2. Tauchen, Helen & Witte, Ann Dryden & Griesinger, Harriet, 1994. "Criminal Deterrence: Revisiting the Issue with a Birth Cohort," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(3), pages 399-412, August.
    3. Cloninger, Dale O., 1994. "Enforcement risk and deterrence: A re-examination," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 273-285.
    4. Case, A.C. & Katz, L.F., 1991. "The Company You Keep: The Effects Of Family And Neighborhood On Disadvantaged Younths," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1555, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    5. Philip J. Cook & George Tauchen, 1982. "The Effect of Liquor Taxes on Heavy Drinking," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 379-390, Autumn.
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