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The Reporting and Underreporting of Rape

Listed author(s):
  • W. David Allen


    (Department of Economics & Finance, College of Administrative Science, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL 35899)

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    A rape victim possesses a scarce resource: information about the crime. Thus, a victim's decision to report the crime to police, to allocate that resource, becomes an economic choice. A victim cannot receive social support or legal justice without revealing such information, but doing so creates real costs—social recrimination and lost privacy—with no guarantee of offender apprehension. This article explores the economics of the reporting and chronic nonreporting of rape in the context of this information-allocation problem. The empirical analysis addresses the extent to which social-support availability and evidentiary factors influence the reporting decision. Dichotomous and multinomial logit results, obtained using National Crime Survey data on a sample of rape victims, reveal how various demographic and crime-specific factors explain the decision to report and the selection of specific reasons for not reporting. Some of these factors reflect circumstances addressable as matters of procedure or policy.

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    Article provided by Southern Economic Association in its journal Southern Economic Journal.

    Volume (Year): 73 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 3 (January)
    Pages: 623-641

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    Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:73:3:y:2007:p:623-641
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