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Optimal Criminal Behavior and the Disutility of Jail: Theory and Evidence On Bank Robberies

  • Giovanni Mastrobuoni

Based on unique data on individual bank robberies perpetrated in Italy between 2005 and 2007, this paper estimates the distribution of criminals' disutility of jail. The identification rests on the money versus risk trade-off criminals face when deciding whether to stay an additional minute robbing the bank. When robbers are successful in robbing a bank and the observed duration is assumed to be the optimal one, the disutility of jail represents the only unknown determinant of that optimal duration. One can thus solve for the disutility as a function of the expected marginal haul, average haul, and hazard rate of arrest.

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File URL: http://www.carloalberto.org/assets/working-papers/no.220.pdf
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Paper provided by Collegio Carlo Alberto in its series Carlo Alberto Notebooks with number 220.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:220
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  11. Eric Helland & Alexander Tabarrok, 2007. "Does Three Strikes Deter?: A Nonparametric Estimation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(2).
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  13. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1973. "Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 521-65, May-June.
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  17. John J. DiIulio, 1996. "Help Wanted: Economists, Crime and Public Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
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