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The Fugitive: Evidence on Public versus Private Law Enforcement from Bail Jumping

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  • Helland, Eric
  • Tabarrok, Alexander

Abstract

On the day of their trial, a substantial number of felony defendants fail to appear. Public police have the primary responsibility for pursuing and rearresting defendants who were released on their own recognizance or on cash or government bail. Defendants who made bail by borrowing from a bond dealer, however, must worry about an entirely different pursuer. When a defendant who has borrowed money skips trial, the bond dealer forfeits the bond unless the fugitive is soon returned. As a result, bond dealers have an incentive to monitor their charges and ensure that they do not skip. When a defendant does skip, bond dealers hire bounty hunters to return the defendants to custody. We compare the effectiveness of these two different systems by examining failure-to-appear rates, fugitive rates, and capture rates of felony defendants who fall under the various systems. We apply propensity score and matching techniques.

Suggested Citation

  • Helland, Eric & Tabarrok, Alexander, 2004. "The Fugitive: Evidence on Public versus Private Law Enforcement from Bail Jumping," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(1), pages 93-122, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:y:2004:v:47:i:1:p:93-122
    DOI: 10.1086/378694
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James J. Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Petra E. Todd, 1997. "Matching As An Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 605-654.
    2. William M. Landes, 1974. "Legality and Reality: Some Evidence on Criminal Procedure," NBER Working Papers 0040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Michael Lechner, 2000. "Programme Heterogeneity and Propensity Score Matching: An Application to the Evaluation of Active Labour Market Policies," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0647, Econometric Society.
    4. James J. Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Petra Todd, 1998. "Matching As An Econometric Evaluation Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(2), pages 261-294.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rosario Crinò & Giovanni Immordino & Salvatore Piccolo, 2018. "Fighting Mobile Crime," DISCE - Working Papers del Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza def071, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    2. Rosario Crinò & Giovanni Immordino & Salvatore Piccolo, 2019. "Fighting Mobile Crime," CESifo Working Paper Series 7446, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Erwin Blackstone & Andrew Buck & Simon Hakim, 2007. "The economics of emergency response," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 40(4), pages 313-334, December.
    4. Eric Helland & Alexander Tabarrok, 2007. "Does Three Strikes Deter?: A Nonparametric Estimation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(2).
    5. Bierie, David M., 2014. "Fugitives in the United States," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 327-337.

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