IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Effects of Punishment of Crime in Colombia on Deterrence, Incapacitation, and Human Capital Formation

  • Arlen Guarin
  • Carlos Medina
  • Jorge Andres Tamayo

Using individual data on persons arrested in the Medellin Metropolitan Area, this paper assesses whether the change in punishment at age 18, mandated by law, has a deterrent effect on arrests. No deterrent effect was found on index, violent or property crimes, but a deterrence effect was found on non-index crimes, specifically those related to drug consumption and trafficking. The change in criminal penalties at 18 years of age does not explain future differences in human capital formation among the population that had been arrested immediately after versus immediately before reaching 18 years of age. There is no evidence that the longer length of time to recidivate on the part of individuals arrested for the first time immediately after reaching 18 implies future differences in human capital formation. These results suggest a specific deterrence effect resulting from the harsher experience while in prison of those arrested right after reaching 18.

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:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number IDB-WP-420.

in new window

Date of creation: Jul 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:idb-wp-420
Contact details of provider: Postal: 1300 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20577
Phone: 202-623-1000
Web page:

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. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
  2. Mocan, Naci & Tekin, Erdal, 2003. "Guns, Drugs and Juvenile Crime: Evidence from a Panel of Siblings and Twins," IZA Discussion Papers 932, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Cook, Philip J. & Durrance, Christine Piette, 2013. "The virtuous tax: Lifesaving and crime-prevention effects of the 1991 federal alcohol-tax increase," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 261-267.
  4. Ludwig, Jens & Miller, Douglas L., 2006. "Does Head Start Improve Children's Life Chances? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," IZA Discussion Papers 2111, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Sara Markowitz & Erik Nesson & Eileen Poe-Yamagata & Curtis Florence & Partha Deb & Tracy Andrews & Sarah Beth L. Barnett, 2012. "Estimating the Relationship between Alcohol Policies and Criminal Violence and Victimization," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 13(4), pages 416-435, November.
  6. Sara Markowitz, 2000. "An Economic Analysis of Alcohol, Drugs, and Violent Crime in the National Crime Victimization Survey," NBER Working Papers 7982, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Chen, Susan & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2008. "The work disincentive effects of the disability insurance program in the 1990s," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 757-784, February.
  8. Christopher Carpenter & Carlos Dobkin, 2007. "The Effect of Alcohol Consumption on Mortality: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from the Minimum Drinking Age," NBER Working Papers 13374, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Lance Lochner, 2004. "Education, Work, and Crime: A Human Capital Approach," NBER Working Papers 10478, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Ilyana Kuziemko, 2013. "How should inmates be released from prison? An assessment of parole versus fixed-sentence regimes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(1), pages 371-424.
  11. Mireia Jofre-Bonet & Jody L. Sindelar, 2002. "Drug Treatment as a Crime Fighting Tool," NBER Working Papers 9038, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Carlos Medina & Christian Posso & Jorge Andrés Tamayo, 2011. "Costos de la violencia urbana y políticas públicas: algunas lecciones de Medellín," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 009076, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
  13. Lee, David S., 2008. "Randomized experiments from non-random selection in U.S. House elections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 675-697, February.
  14. Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2008. "Regression-Discontinuity Analysis: A Survey of Recent Developments in Economics," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 22(2), pages 219-245, 06.
  15. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2010. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 281-355, June.
  17. Sara Markowitz, 2000. "Criminal Violence and Alcohol Beverage Control: Evidence from an International Study," NBER Working Papers 7481, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Rodrigo R. Soares & Joana Naritomi, 2010. "Understanding High Crime Rates in Latin America: The Role of Social and Policy Factors," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Crime: Lessons for and from Latin America, pages 19-55 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Wilbert van der Klaauw, 2002. "Estimating the Effect of Financial Aid Offers on College Enrollment: A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(4), pages 1249-1287, November.
  20. Jesse M. Shapiro, 2007. "Do Harsher Prison Conditions Reduce Recidivism? A Discontinuity-based Approach," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 1-29.
  21. David S. Lee & Justin McCrary, 2005. "Crime, Punishment, and Myopia," NBER Working Papers 11491, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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:idb:wpaper:idb-wp-420. 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: (Monica Bazan)

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.