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Prison, Semi-Liberty and Recidivism: Bounding Causal Effects in a Survival Model

Benjamin Monnery, François-Charles Wolff and Anaïs Henneguelle

No 2019-20, EconomiX Working Papers from University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX

Abstract: This paper investigates the effect of semi-liberty as an alternative to prison on recidivism in France. Our analysis is based on a unique dataset comprising 1,445 offenders, all eligible to semi-liberty. In the absence of an instrumental variable affecting access to semi-liberty but unrelated to recidivism, we turn to selection-on-observable methods as well as sensitivity analyses to bound the causal effect of interest. Our results under treatment exogeneity (Cox regressions) and conditional independence (matching) show that semi-liberty is associated with a reduction of 22% to 31% in offenders’ hazard of recidivism in the five years after release. The estimated effects decrease, but remain negative and significant when credible confounders are introduced. Overall, our analysis lends strong support for a beneficial effect of semi-liberty compared to prison.

Keywords: Recidivism; semi-liberty; halfway houses; prison; survival analyses; sensitivity analyses (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: K14 K42 C18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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