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Criminal registries, community notification, and optimal avoidance

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  • Simundza, Daniel

Abstract

This paper studies how community notification of criminal registries affects neighborhood behavior and shows that notification is not always optimal. Using a game-theoretic model of a neighborhood, I establish optimal information disclosure policies when law-abiding neighbors’ actions generate inefficiencies. In my model, notification helps to deter criminal activity by making it harder to victimize informed citizens. On the other hand, notification affects the incentives for costly avoidance by law-abiding citizens, which generates negative externalities. My main results highlight the complementary relationship between notification policies and criminal penalties. In particular, I show that notification is always welfare-improving when penalties are large, but can be harmful when penalties are small.

Suggested Citation

  • Simundza, Daniel, 2014. "Criminal registries, community notification, and optimal avoidance," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 73-82.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:irlaec:v:39:y:2014:i:c:p:73-82
    DOI: 10.1016/j.irle.2014.06.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Clotfelter, Charles T, 1977. "Public Services, Private Substitutes, and the Demand for Protection against Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 867-877, December.
    2. J.J. Prescott & Jonah E. Rockoff, 2011. "Do Sex Offender Registration and Notification Laws Affect Criminal Behavior?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(1), pages 161-206.
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    6. Ginger Zhe Jin & Phillip Leslie, 2003. "The Effect of Information on Product Quality: Evidence from Restaurant Hygiene Grade Cards," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 409-451.
    7. David Dranove & Daniel Kessler & Mark McClellan & Mark Satterthwaite, 2003. "Is More Information Better? The Effects of "Report Cards" on Health Care Providers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(3), pages 555-588, June.
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    11. Pope, Jaren C., 2008. "Fear of crime and housing prices: Household reactions to sex offender registries," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 601-614, November.
    12. Amanda Y. Agan, 2011. "Sex Offender Registries: Fear without Function?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(1), pages 207-239.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Notification; Deterrence; Sex offenders; Avoidance; Information disclosure;

    JEL classification:

    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General
    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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