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An Experimental Test of Criminal Behavior Among Juveniles and Young Adults

Michael S. Visser, William Harbaugh () and Naci Mocan

No 12507, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: We report results from economic experiments that provide a direct test of the hypothesis that criminal behavior responds rationally to changes in the possible rewards and in the probability and severity of punishment. The experiments involve decisions that are best described as petty larceny, and are done using high school and college students who can anonymously take real money from each other. We find that decisions about whether and how much to steal are, in general, rational and responsive to the variations in tradeoffs, and sometimes, though not always, to the overall availability of criminal opportunities.

JEL-codes: D64 K42 L11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2006-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp, nep-law and nep-soc
Note: CH PE
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