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Recent Econometric Modeling of Crime and Punishment

Stephen S. Brier and Stephen E. Fienberg
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Stephen S. Brier: University of Iowa
Stephen E. Fienberg: University of Minnesota

Evaluation Review, 1980, vol. 4, issue 2, 147-191

Abstract: In this article we review some recent attempts to develop econometric models for assessing the deterrent effect of punishment on crime, as well as analyses carried out to validate these models. The formulation of the basic econometric model considered here is due to Becker, and the detailed specification of the model, along with much of the empirical work reviewed, has been carried out by Ehrlich. We find serious flaws with the Becker- Ehrlich model, with the data used in its empirical implementation, and with Ehrlich's conclusions regarding evidence to support the deterrent effect of punishment on crime. Indeed, we can find no reliable empirical support in the existing economics literature either for or against the deterrence hypothesis.

Date: 1980
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