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Privately Produced General Deterrence

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  • Benson, Bruce L
  • Mast, Brent D

Abstract

In this study, we use county data on private security establishments and employment for 1977-92 to test two hypotheses. First, we test whether private security deters crime. Second, we test whether John Lott and David Mustard's estimates of the impact of shall-issue laws on crime are biased because of a lack of controls for private security. We find little evidence that private security reduces the crime rates for assault or larceny. Some estimates suggest murder, robbery, and/or auto theft may be deterred by private security, although these results are not robust. Of all the index crime categories, only rape is estimated to have a consistent negative relationship with private security. In addition, we find little evidence that the Lott and Mustard results are biased because of a lack of controls for the private security measures employed in this study. Copyright 2001 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Benson, Bruce L & Mast, Brent D, 2001. "Privately Produced General Deterrence," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(2), pages 725-746, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:44:y:2001:i:2:p:725-46
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/323766
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Moody, Carlisle E, 2001. "Testing for the Effects of Concealed Weapons Laws: Specification Errors and Robustness," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(2), pages 799-813, October.
    3. Plassmann, Florenz & Tideman, T Nicolaus, 2001. "Does the Right to Carry Concealed Handguns Deter Countable Crimes? Only a Count Analysis Can Say," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(2), pages 771-798, October.
    4. Mark Duggan, 2001. "More Guns, More Crime," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 1086-1114, October.
    5. 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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    Cited by:

    1. repec:aea:aejmac:v:10:y:2018:i:2:p:184-221 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Meehan, Brian, 2015. "The impact of licensing requirements on industrial organization and labor: Evidence from the U.S. private security market," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 113-121.
    3. David B. Mustard, 2010. "Labor Markets and Crime: New Evidence on an Old Puzzle," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Crime, chapter 14 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Zimmerman, Paul R., 2010. "Deterrence from self-protection measures in the ‘market model’ of crime: dynamic panel data estimates from employment in private security occupations," MPRA Paper 26187, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. repec:eee:jeborg:v:141:y:2017:i:c:p:151-163 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Ian Ayres & John J. Donohue, 2009. "Yet Another Refutation of the More Guns, Less Crime Hypothesis—With Some Help From Moody and Marvell," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 6(1), pages 35-59, January.
    7. Mustard, David B., 2010. "How Do Labor Markets Affect Crime? New Evidence on an Old Puzzle," IZA Discussion Papers 4856, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Helen Tauchen, 2010. "Estimating the Supply of Crime: Recent Advances," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Crime, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Caspar Rose, 2010. "The transfer of property rights by theft: an economic analysis," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 247-266, December.
    10. Mialon, Hugo M. & Wiseman, Thomas, 2005. "The impact of gun laws: A model of crime and self-defense," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 170-175, August.
    11. Timothy Besley & Hannes Mueller, 2018. "Predation, Protection, and Productivity: A Firm-Level Perspective," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 184-221, April.
    12. Brian Meehan & Bruce Benson, 2015. "The occupations of regulators influence occupational regulation: evidence from the US private security industry," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 162(1), pages 97-117, January.
    13. Zimmerman, Paul R., 2014. "The deterrence of crime through private security efforts: Theory and evidence," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 66-75.
    14. Zimmerman, Paul R. & Benson, Bruce L., 2007. "Alcohol and rape: An "economics-of-crime" perspective," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 442-473, December.

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