Understanding aggregate crime regressions
This paper provides a general description of the relationship between individual decision problems and aggregate crime regressions. The analysis is designed to elucidate the behavioral and statistical assumptions that are implicit in the use of aggregate crime regressions for both the analysis of crime determinants as well in counterfactual policy evaluation. We apply our general arguments to the question of the deterrent effect of capital punishment and show how alternative assumptions affect estimates of the deterrent effect.
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