Using Sentence Enhancements to Distinguish between Deterrence and Incapacitation
Differentiating empirically between deterrence and incapacitation is difficult since both are a function of expected punishment. In this article we demonstrate that the introduction of sentence enhancements provides a direct means of measuring deterrence. Because the criminal would have been sentenced to prison even without the law change, there is no additional incapacitation effect from the sentence enhancement in the short run. Therefore, any immediate decrease in crime must be due to deterrence. We test the model using California's Proposition 8, which imposed sentence enhancements for a selected group of crimes. Proposition 8 appears to reduce eligible crimes by 4 percent in the year following its passage and 8 percent 3 years after passage. These immediate effects are consistent with deterrence. The impact of the law continues to increase 5-7 years after its passage, suggesting that incapacitation may be important as well. Copyright 1999 by the University of Chicago.
To our knowledge, this item is not available for
download. To find whether it is available, there are three
1. Check below under "Related research" whether another version of this item is available online.
2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 1982.
"The Optimal Use of Fines and Imprisonment,"
NBER Working Papers
0932, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- McCormick, Robert E & Tollison, Robert D, 1984. "Crime on the Court," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(2), pages 223-35, April.
- Gary S. Becker, 1968.
"Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
- Kessler, Daniel P & Piehl, Anne Morrison, 1998.
"The Role of Discretion in the Criminal Justice System,"
Journal of Law, Economics and Organization,
Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 256-76, October.
- Daniel P. Kessler & Anne Morrison Piehl, 1997. "The Role of Discretion in the Criminal Justice System," NBER Working Papers 6261, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Louis Kaplow & Steven Shavell, 1991.
"Optimal Law Enforcement with Self-Reporting of Behavior,"
NBER Working Papers
3822, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kaplow, Louis & Shavell, Steven, 1994. "Optimal Law Enforcement with Self-Reporting of Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(3), pages 583-606, June.
- Lott, John R, Jr, 1987. "Should the Wealthy Be Able to "Buy Justice"?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(6), pages 1307-16, December.
- Ehrlich, Isaac, 1973. "Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 521-65, May-June.
- Polinsky, A Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1999.
"On the Disutility and Discounting of Imprisonment and the Theory of Deterrence,"
The Journal of Legal Studies,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 1-16, January.
- A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 1997. "On the Disutility and Discounting of Imprisonment and the Theory of Deterrence," NBER Working Papers 6259, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Isaac Ehrlich, 1996. "Crime, Punishment, and the Market for Offenses," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 43-67, Winter.
- Cameron, Samuel, 1988. "The Economics of Crime Deterrence: A Survey of Theory and Evidence," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 301-23.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:42:y:1999:i:1:p:343-63. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Journals Division)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.