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A Simple Model of Optimal Hate Crime Legislation

  • Li Gan
  • Roberton C. Williams III
  • Thomas Wiseman

We present a simple model of the effects of hate crime legislation. It shows that even if the direct harm to victims of hate crime is the same as for other crimes, because of other differences in the effects it may still be optimal to exert more law-enforcement effort to deter or prevent hate crime. These differences also have previously unrecognized effects on the optimal level of effort by potential hate crime victims to avoid being victimized, thus affecting the efficiency of government policies that encourage or discourage such effort. We discuss the implications of these results for optimal hate-crime policy, as well as for policy toward other similar crimes, such as terrorism.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w10463.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10463.

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Date of creation: May 2004
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Publication status: published as Li Gan & Roberton C. Williams Iii & Thomas Wiseman, 2011. "A Simple Model Of Optimal Hate Crime Legislation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(3), pages 674-684, 07.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10463
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  1. Lewis R. Gale & Will Carrington Heath & Rand W. Ressler, 2002. "An Economic Analysis of Hate Crime," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 28(2), pages 203-216, Spring.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser, 2002. "The Political Economy of Hatred," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1970, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Philipson, Tomas J & Posner, Richard A, 1996. "The Economic Epidemiology of Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(2), pages 405-33, October.
  4. Jefferson, Philip N. & Pryor, Frederic L., 1999. "On the geography of hate," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 389-395, December.
  5. 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.
  6. Ben-Shahar, Omri & Harel, Alon, 1995. "Blaming the Victim: Optimal Incentives for Private Precautions against Crime," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 434-55, October.
  7. Edward L. Glaeser, 2005. "The Political Economy of Hatred," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(1), pages 45-86, January.
  8. Ian Ayres & Steven D. Levitt, 1998. "Measuring Positive Externalities From Unobservable Victim Precaution: An Empirical Analysis Of Lojack," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(1), pages 43-77, February.
  9. Johnson, Stephen D. & Byers, Bryan D., 2003. "Attitudes toward hate crime laws," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 227-235.
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