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Crime, Deterrence, and Democracy


  • Libor Dušek


We provide new evidence on the effect of deterrence on crime using the experience of a transition country (the Czech Republic) as a quasi-natural experiment. The arrival of democracy in 1989 was accompanied by sharp reductions in all measures of deterrence and sharp increases in crime rates. We test whether deterrence, rather than other factors, was responsible for the post-1989 growth in crime on a panel dataset of Czech regions. The results show significant deterrence effects for robberies and thefts that are quantitatively similar to those found in previous literature, but insignificant deterrence effects for murders and rapes.
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  • Libor Dušek, 2012. "Crime, Deterrence, and Democracy," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 13(4), pages 447-469, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:germec:v:13:y:2012:i:4:p:447-469

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gabor Kezdi, 2005. "Robus Standard Error Estimation in Fixed-Effects Panel Models," Econometrics 0508018, EconWPA.
    2. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1975. "The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: A Question of Life and Death," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 397-417, June.
    4. Steven D. Levitt, 1998. "Juvenile Crime and Punishment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1156-1185, December.
    5. Sah, Raaj K, 1991. "Social Osmosis and Patterns of Crime," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1272-1295, December.
    6. Block, Michael K & Gerety, Vernon E, 1995. "Some Experimental Evidence on Differences between Student and Prisoner Reactions to Monetary Penalties and Risk," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(1), pages 123-138, January.
    7. Ann Dryden Witte, 1980. "Estimating the Economic Model of Crime With Individual Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(1), pages 57-84.
    8. Cornwell, Christopher & Trumbull, William N, 1994. "Estimating the Economic Model of Crime with Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(2), pages 360-366, May.
    9. Eric D. Gould & Bruce A. Weinberg & David B. Mustard, 2002. "Crime Rates And Local Labor Market Opportunities In The United States: 1979-1997," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 45-61, February.
    10. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1973. "Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 521-565, May-June.
    11. Lin, Ming-Jen, 2007. "Does democracy increase crime? The evidence from international data," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 467-483, September.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • P37 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Legal


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