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Criminal Recidivism after Prison and Electronic Monitoring

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  • Rafael Di Tella
  • Ernesto Schargrodsky

Abstract

We study the re-arrest rates for two groups: individuals formerly in prison and individuals formerly under electronic monitoring (EM). We find that the recidivism rate of former prisoners is 22% while that for those 'treated' with electronic monitoring is 13% (40% lower). We convince ourselves that the estimates are causal using peculiarities of the Argentine setting. For example, we have almost as much information as the judges have when deciding on the allocation of EM; the program is rationed to only some offenders; and some institutional features (such as bad prison conditions) convert ideological differences across judges (to which detainees are randomly matched) into very large differences in the allocation of electronic monitoring.

Suggested Citation

  • Rafael Di Tella & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2009. "Criminal Recidivism after Prison and Electronic Monitoring," NBER Working Papers 15602, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15602
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Anderson, James M & Kling, Jeffrey R & Stith, Kate, 1999. "Measuring Interjedge Sentencing Disparity: Before and After the Federal Sentencing Guidelines," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 271-307, April.
    3. María Laura Alzúa & Catherine Rodriguez & Edgar Villa, 2010. "The Quality of Life in Prisons: Do Educational Programs Reduce In-Prison Conflicts?," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Crime: Lessons for and from Latin America, pages 239-264 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. David A. Anderson, 2002. "The Deterrence Hypothesis and Picking Pockets at the Pickpocket's Hanging," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(2), pages 295-313.
    5. Di Tella, Rafael & Dubra, Juan, 2008. "Crime and punishment in the "American Dream"," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1564-1584, July.
    6. 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.
    7. Joseph J. Doyle Jr., 2008. "Child Protection and Adult Crime: Using Investigator Assignment to Estimate Causal Effects of Foster Care," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 746-770, August.
    8. Jeffrey R. Kling, 2006. "Incarceration Length, Employment, and Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 863-876, June.
    9. Richard B. Freeman, 1996. "Why Do So Many Young American Men Commit Crimes and What Might We Do about It?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 25-42, Winter.
    10. Patrick Bayer & Randi Hjalmarsson & David Pozen, 2009. "Building Criminal Capital behind Bars: Peer Effects in Juvenile Corrections," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 105-147.
    11. 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.
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    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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