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Individual Decision-Making to Commit a Crime: A Survey of Early Models


  • Roman Horváth
  • Eva Kolomazníková


The authors provide a survey of the most important findings of the early models of the economics of crime, namely the models of Becker, Ehrlich and Heineke. These models study rational individual decision-making about entering into illegal activities. Probability and size of punishment, attitudes towards risk, gains from crime and income are the main variables influencing the results of individual behavior. The authors also discuss weaknesses of these models such as their static nature or the absence of interactive decision-making. The relationship to the theory of optimal law enforcement is also presented.

Suggested Citation

  • Roman Horváth & Eva Kolomazníková, 2003. "Individual Decision-Making to Commit a Crime: A Survey of Early Models," Czech Journal of Economics and Finance (Finance a uver), Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, vol. 53(3-4), pages 154-168, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:fau:fauart:v:53:y:2003:i:3-4:p:154-168

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Égert, Balázs, 2002. "Investigating the Balassa-Samuelson hypothesis in transition : Do we understand what we see?," BOFIT Discussion Papers 6/2002, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
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    7. Alberola, Enrique & Tyrväinen, Timo, 1998. "Is there scope for inflation differentials in EMU : An empirical evaluation of the Balassa-Samuelsson model in EMU countries," Research Discussion Papers 15/1998, Bank of Finland.
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    10. Tomás Holub & Martin Cihak, 2001. "Convergence of Relative Prices and Inflation in Central and Eastern Europe," IMF Working Papers 01/124, International Monetary Fund.
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    More about this item


    economics of crime; individual decision-making; rationality; rent seeking;

    JEL classification:

    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty


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