IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper

The Incapacitation Effect of Incarceration: Evidence From Several Italian Collective Pardons

  • Alessandro Barbarino
  • Giovanni Mastrobuoni

Incarceration of criminals reduces crime through two main channels, deterrence and incapac- itation. Because of a simultaneity between crime and incarceration–arrested criminals increase the prison population–it is difficult to measure these effects. This paper estimates the incapaci- tation effect on crime using a unique quasi-natural experiment, namely the recurrent collective pardoning between 1962 and 1995 of up to 35 percent of the Italian prison population. Since these pardons are enacted on a national level, unlike in Levitt (1996), we can control for the endogeneity of these laws that might be driven by criminals’ expectations: it is optimal to com- mit crimes shortly before a collective pardon gets enacted. This effect represents a deterrence effect, which, if not properly controlled for, would bias our IV estimates towards zero. The incapacitation effect is large and precisely estimated. The elasticity of crime with respect to prison population ranges, depending on the type of crime, between 0 and 49 percent. These numbers are increasing during our sample period, which suggests that habitual criminals are now more likely to be subject to pardons than in the past. A benefit-cost analysis suggests that pardons, seen as a short term solution to prison overcrowding, are inefficient.

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.

File URL: http://www.carloalberto.org/assets/working-papers/no.55.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Collegio Carlo Alberto in its series Carlo Alberto Notebooks with number 55.

as
in new window

Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:55
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Via Real Collegio, 30, 10024 Moncalieri (To)

Phone: +390116705000
Fax: +390116476847
Web page: http://www.carloalberto.org/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Milo Bianchi & Paolo Buonanno & Paolo Pinotti, 2008. "Do immigrants cause crime?," PSE Working Papers halshs-00586864, HAL.
  2. Francesco Drago & Roberto Galbiati & Pietro Vertova, 2009. "The Deterrent Effects of Prison: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(2), pages 257-280, 04.
  3. Paolo Buonanno & Daniel Montolio & Paolo Vanin, 2006. "Does Social Capital Reduce Crime?," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0029, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
  4. Daniel Kessler & Steven D. Levitt, 1998. "Using Sentence Enhancements to Distinguish between Deterrence and Incapacitation," NBER Working Papers 6484, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Orley Ashenfelter & Michael Greenstone, 2002. "Using Mandated Speed Limits to Measure the Value of a Statistical Life," NBER Working Papers 9094, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. C. Detotto & M. Vannini, 2010. "Counting the cost of crime in Italy," Working Paper CRENoS 201013, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
  7. Ashenfelter, Orley & Greenstone, Michael, 2004. "Estimating the Value of a Statistical Life: The Importance of Omitted Variables and Publication Bias," IZA Discussion Papers 1037, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00586864 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. repec:pri:cepsud:97ashenfelter is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Eric Helland & Alexander Tabarrok, 2007. "Does Three Strikes Deter?: A Nonparametric Estimation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(2).
  11. Lawrence Katz & Steven D. Levitt & Ellen Shustorovich, 2003. "Prison Conditions, Capital Punishment, and Deterrence," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(2), pages 318-343, August.
  12. Marselli, Riccardo & Vannini, Marco, 1997. "Estimating a crime equation in the presence of organized crime: Evidence from Italy," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 89-113, March.
  13. Shavell, Steven, 1987. "A Model of Optimal Incapacitation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 107-10, May.
  14. repec:pri:indrel:479 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Emily G. Owens, 2009. "More Time, Less Crime? Estimating the Incapacitative Effect of Sentence Enhancements," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(3), pages 551-579, 08.
  16. H. Naci Mocan & R. Kaj Gittings, 2001. "Pardons, Executions and Homicide," NBER Working Papers 8639, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Orley Ashenfelter & Michael Greenstone, 2004. "Estimating the Value of a Statistical Life: The Importance of Omitted Variables and Publication Bias," Working Papers 858, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:55. 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: (Giovanni Bert)

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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.