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

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  • Giovanni Mastrobuoni

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2011. "Optimal Criminal Behavior and the Disutility of Jail: Theory and Evidence On Bank Robberies," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 220, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  • Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:220
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    File URL: http://www.carloalberto.org/assets/working-papers/no.220.pdf
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Crime; Deterrence; Sentence Enhancements; Bank Robberies; Value of Freedom; Disutility of Jail;

    JEL classification:

    • K40 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - General
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government

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