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On the Behavioral Economics of Crime

Author

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  • van Winden Frans A.A.M.

    (University of Amsterdam; Columbia University)

  • Ash Elliott

    (University of Amsterdam; Columbia University)

Abstract

This paper examines the implications of the brain sciences’ mechanistic model of human behavior for our understanding of crime. The standard rational-choice crime model is refined by a behavioral approach, which proposes a decision model comprising cognitive and emotional decision systems. According to the behavioral approach, a criminal is not irrational but rather ‘ecologically rational,’ outfitted with evolutionarily conserved decision modules adapted for survival in the human ancestral environment. Several important cognitive as well as emotional factors for criminal behavior are discussed and formalized, using tax evasion as a running example. The behavioral crime model leads to new perspectives on criminal policy-making.

Suggested Citation

  • van Winden Frans A.A.M. & Ash Elliott, 2012. "On the Behavioral Economics of Crime," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 181-213, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:rlecon:v:8:y:2012:i:1:n:8
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Benjamin Monnery, 2013. "The determinants of recidivism among ex-prisoners: a survival analysis on French data," Working Papers halshs-00822847, HAL.
    2. Okeke, Edward N. & Godlonton, Susan, 2014. "Doing wrong to do right? Social preferences and dishonest behavior," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 124-139.
    3. Arthur Schram, 2016. "Gordon Tullock and experimental public choice," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 214-226, June.
    4. van Winden, Frans, 2015. "Political economy with affect: On the role of emotions and relationships in political economics," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PB), pages 298-311.
    5. Entorf, Horst, 2013. "Criminal Victims, Victimized Criminals, or Both? A Deeper Look at the Victim-Offender Overlap," IZA Discussion Papers 7686, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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