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.
|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: (Dana Niculescu)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.