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The Aggregate Burden of Crime

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  • Anderson, David A

Abstract

This study estimates the total annual cost of criminal behavior in the United States. While past research has typically focused on particular costs, regions, or crime categories, this general study estimates all of the direct and indirect costs of crime for the entire nation. In addition to aggregating expenses commonly associated with unlawful activity, it considers ancillary costs that have not yet been included in an overall formula for the cost of crime. Beyond the expenses of the legal system, victim losses, and crime-prevention agencies, the burden of crime encompasses the opportunity costs of victims', criminals', and prisoners' time; the fear of being victimized; and the cost of private deterrence. More accurate information on the repercussions of crime could guide our legal, political, and cultural stance toward crime and allow informed prioritization of programs that curtail criminal activity. The net annual burden of crime is found to exceed $1 trillion. Copyright 1999 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Anderson, David A, 1999. "The Aggregate Burden of Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(2), pages 611-642, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:42:y:1999:i:2:p:611-42
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/467436
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    1. Ludwig, Jens, 1998. "Concealed-gun-carrying laws and violent crime: evidence from state panel data," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 239-254, September.
    2. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Lott, John R, Jr & Mustard, David B, 1997. "Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(1), pages 1-68, January.
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    5. Jens Otto Ludwig, 1998. "Concealed-Gun-Carrying Laws and Violent Crime: Evidence from State Panel Data," JCPR Working Papers 31, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    6. Philipson, Tomas J & Posner, Richard A, 1996. "The Economic Epidemiology of Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(2), pages 405-433, October.
    7. Thaler, Richard, 1978. "A note on the value of crime control: Evidence from the property market," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 137-145, January.
    8. McChesney, Fred S., 1993. "Boxed in: Economists and benefits from crime," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 225-231, June.
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