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Crime, Ethics and Occupational Choice: Endogenous Sorting in a Closed Model

  • John P. Conley

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)

  • Ping Wang

    ()

    (Vanderbilt University and NBER)

We consider a simple model in which agents are endowed with heterogeneous abilities and differing degrees of honesty. Agents choose either to become criminals or invest in education and become workers instead. The model is closed in that all criminal proceeds are stolen from agents working in the formal sector and that expenditures on both deterrence and punishment of criminals are paid for through taxes levied on workers. Thus, although we assume that there no direct interactive effects among criminals, criminals crowd each other in two ways: positively in that enforcement and punishment resources become more widely diffused as more agents commit crimes, and negatively in that the presence of more criminals implies that there is less loot to be divided over a larger number of thieves. We establish the possibility of multiple equilibria and characterize the equilibrium properties. We then evaluate the effectiveness of deterrence policies under a balanced government budget.

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File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/pubs/VUECON/vu04-w02.pdf
File Function: First version, 2004
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Paper provided by Vanderbilt University Department of Economics in its series Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers with number 0402.

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Date of creation: Jan 2004
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Handle: RePEc:van:wpaper:0402
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/econ/wparchive/index.html

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  1. Jeff Grogger, 1997. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," NBER Working Papers 5983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 5026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Ayse Imrohoroglu & Antonio Merlo & Peter Rupert, 2004. "What Accounts For The Decline In Crime?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(3), pages 707-729, 08.
  4. Lochner, L., 1999. "Education, Work, and Crime: Theory and Evidence," RCER Working Papers 465, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  5. Ayse Imrohoroglu & Antonio Merlo & Peter Rupert, 1996. "On the political economy of income redistribution and crime," Working Paper 9609, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  6. Witte, Ann D & Tauchen, Helen, 1994. "Work and Crime: An Exploration Using Panel Data," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 49(Supplemen), pages 155-67.
  7. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1973. "Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 521-65, May-June.
  8. Rasmusen, Eric, 1996. "Stigma and Self-Fulfilling Expectations of Criminality," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(2), pages 519-43, October.
  9. Sah, R.K., 1990. "Social Osmosis And Patterns Of Crime: A Dynamic Economic Analysis," Papers 609, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  10. Kenneth Burdett & Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2003. "Crime, Inequality, and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1764-1777, December.
  11. 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.
  12. Block, M K & Heineke, J M, 1975. "A Labor Theoretic Analysis of the Criminal Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 314-25, June.
  13. Ann Dryden Witte & Helen Tauchen, 1994. "Work and Crime: An Exploration Using Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 4794, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Davis, Michael L, 1988. "Time and Punishment: An Intertemporal Model of Crime," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 383-90, April.
  15. Chien-Chieh Huang & Derek Laing & Ping Wang, 2004. "Crime And Poverty: A Search-Theoretic Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(3), pages 909-938, 08.
  16. Freeman, Scott & Grogger, Jeffrey & Sonstelie, Jon, 1996. "The Spatial Concentration of Crime," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 216-231, September.
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