IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/pri/indrel/550.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Deterrence Effect of Prison: Dynamic Theory and Evidence

Author

Listed:
  • David S. Lee

    (Princeton University and NBER)

  • Justin McCrary

    (Princeton University and NBER)

Abstract

Using administrative, longitudinal data on felony arrests in Florida, we exploit the doscontinous increase in the punitiveness of criminal sanctions at 18 to estimate the deterence effect of incarceration. Our analysis suggests a 2 percent decline in the logodds of offending at 18, with a standard errors ruling out declines of 11 percent or more. We interpret these magnitudes using a stochastic dynamic extension of Becker's (1968) model of criminal behavior. Calibrating the model to match key empirical moments, we conclude that deterrence elasticities with respect to sentence lengths are no more negitive than -0.13 for young offenders.

Suggested Citation

  • David S. Lee & Justin McCrary, 2009. "The Deterrence Effect of Prison: Dynamic Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 1171, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  • Handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:550
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://dataspace.princeton.edu/jspui/bitstream/88435/dsp019k41zd51c/1/550.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Randi Hjalmarsson, 2009. "Juvenile Jails: A Path to the Straight and Narrow or to Hardened Criminality?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(4), pages 779-809, November.
    2. Jerome Adda & Russell W. Cooper, 2003. "Dynamic Economics: Quantitative Methods and Applications," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262012014, September.
    3. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 2004. "Recursive Macroeconomic Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 026212274x, September.
    4. 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, April.
    5. Klick, Jonathan & Tabarrok, Alexander, 2005. "Using Terror Alert Levels to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(1), pages 267-279, April.
    6. Evans, William N. & Owens, Emily G., 2007. "COPS and crime," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 181-201, February.
    7. Rafael Di Tella & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2004. "Do Police Reduce Crime? Estimates Using the Allocation of Police Forces After a Terrorist Attack," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 115-133, March.
    8. Radha Iyengar, 2008. "I'd rather be Hanged for a Sheep than a Lamb: The Unintended Consequences of 'Three-Strikes' Laws," NBER Working Papers 13784, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. 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.
    10. Ilyana Kuziemko, 2007. "Going Off Parole: How the Elimination of Discretionary Prison Release Affects the Social Cost of Crime," NBER Working Papers 13380, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Koohi, Shiva, 2017. "College prospects and risky behavior among Mexican immigrant youth: The effects of in-state tuition policies on schooling and childbearing," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 162-174.
    2. Francisco J.M Costa & João S. De Faria & Felipe S. Iachan & Bárbara Caballero, 2018. "Homicides and the Age of Criminal Responsibility: A Density Discontinuity Approach," Economía Journal, The Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association - LACEA, vol. 0(Fall 2018), pages 59-92, November.
    3. Ana Maria Ibanez & Catherine Rodriguez & David Zarruk, 2013. "Crime, Punishment, and Schooling Decisions: Evidence from Colombian Adolescents," Research Department Publications IDB-WP-413, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    4. Benjamin Hansen, 2015. "Punishment and Deterrence: Evidence from Drunk Driving," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(4), pages 1581-1617, April.
    5. Abay, Kibrom A. & Kahsay, Goytom Abraha, 2018. "Long-term effects of alternative deterrence policies: Panel data evidence from traffic punishments in Denmark," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 1-19.
    6. Aaron Chalfin & Justin McCrary, 2013. "The Effect of Police on Crime: New Evidence from U.S. Cities, 1960-2010," NBER Working Papers 18815, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Beatty, Timothy K.M. & Blow, Laura & Crossley, Thomas F. & O'Dea, Cormac, 2014. "Cash by any other name? Evidence on labeling from the UK Winter Fuel Payment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 86-96.
    8. Hansen, Benjamin & Waddell, Glen R., 2018. "Legal access to alcohol and criminality," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 277-289.
    9. Lotti, Giulia, 2016. "Tough on young offenders: harmful or helpful?," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1126, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    10. Damon Clark & Heather Royer, 2010. "The Effect of Education on Adult Health and Mortality: Evidence from Britain," NBER Working Papers 16013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Ater, Itai & Givati, Yehonatan & Rigbi, Oren, 2014. "Organizational structure, police activity and crime," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 62-71.
    12. Laura Chioda, 2017. "Stop the Violence in Latin America," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 25920, June.
    13. Bindler, Anna & Hjalmarsson, Randi, 2016. "The Fall of Capital Punishment and the Rise of Prisons: How Punishment Severity Affects Jury Verdicts," Working Papers in Economics 674, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    14. Gehrsitz, Markus, 2017. "Speeding, Punishment, and Recidivism: Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," IZA Discussion Papers 10707, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Gregory A. Gilpin & Luke A. Pennig, 2012. "Compulsory Schooling Laws and In-School Crime: Are Delinquents Incapacitated?," CAEPR Working Papers 2012-005, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Department of Economics, Indiana University Bloomington.
    16. Lotti, Giulia, 2016. "Tough on young offenders : harmful or helpful?," Economic Research Papers 269320, University of Warwick - Department of Economics.
    17. Murat C. Mungan & Jonathan Klick, 2014. "Forfeiture of Illegal Gains, Attempts, and Implied Risk Preferences," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 137-153.
    18. Lihui Zhang, 2016. "Are youth offenders responsive to changing sanctions? Evidence from the Canadian Youth Criminal Justice Act of 2003," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 49(2), pages 515-554, May.
    19. Charles E. Loeffler & Ben Grunwald, 2015. "Decriminalizing Delinquency: The Effect of Raising the Age of Majority on Juvenile Recidivism," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(2), pages 361-388.
    20. Derek Neal & Armin Rick, 2016. "The Prison Boom and Sentencing Policy," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(1), pages 1-41.
    21. Mastrobuoni, Giovanni & Rivers, David A., 2016. "Criminal Discount Factors and Deterrence," IZA Discussion Papers 9769, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    22. O’Flaherty, Brendan & Sethi, Rajiv, 2015. "Urban Crime," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: Gilles Duranton & J. V. Henderson & William C. Strange (ed.),Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 0, pages 1519-1621, Elsevier.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Florida; Prisons; Felony; Assests; Sentence length;

    JEL classification:

    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics
    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • C01 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - Econometrics
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:550. 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: (Bobray Bordelon). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/irprius.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.