The economics of crime
In: Handbook of Labor Economics
Crime is a major activity in the US, with implications for poverty and the allocation of public and private resources. The economics of crime focuses on the effect of incentives on criminal behavior, the way decisions interact in a market setting; and the use of a benefit-cost framework to assess alternative strategies to reduce crime. This essay shows that most empirical evidence supports the role of incentives in the criminal decision: legitimate labor market experiences, sanctions including incarceration, and the risk of apprehension all influence decisions to engage in crime. By putting crime into a market setting, economic analysis highlights the difficulty of reducing crime through incapacitation: when the elasticity of supply to crime is high, one criminal replaces another in the market; and thus the importance of deterring crime by altering behavior. Most analyses show that "crime pays" in the sense of offering higher wages than legitimate work, presumably in part to offset the risk of apprehension. But some important facts about crime -- long term trend increases and decreases; the geographic concentration of crime; the preponderance of men and the young in crime -- seem to go beyond basic economic analysis.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
|This chapter was published in: ||This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of Labor Economics with number
3-52.||Handle:|| RePEc:eee:labchp:3-52||Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/bookseriesdescription.cws_home/BS_HE/description|
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:labchp:3-52. 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: (Zhang, Lei)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.