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Rational Suicides: Evidence from Changes in Inmates' Expected Sentence Length

Campaniello, N and Diasakos, T and Mastrobuoni, G (2012) Rational Suicides: Evidence from Changes in Inmates' Expected Sentence Length. Working Paper. Carlo Alberto Notebooks 247. (Unpublished)

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Are suicides rational? At least since the 70's economists have been trying to shed light on this question by studying whether suicide rates are related to contemporaneous economic conditions. This paper goes one step further: we test whether suicides are linked to forward-looking behavior. In Italy, collective sentence reductions (pardons) often lead to massive releases of prisoners. More importantly, they are usually receded by prolonged parliamentary activity (legislative proposals, discussion, voting, etc.) that inmates seem to follow closely. We use the legislative proposals for collective pardons to measure changes in the inmates' expectations about their date of release, and find that suicide rates tend to be significantly lower when pardons are proposed in congress. This suggests that, amongst inmates in Italian prisons, the average decision to commit suicide has a rational component.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: K40; K42; H11; Suicides; Rationality; Pardons; Amnesty; Prison Conditions
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Economics, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2015 15:34
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2022 22:01

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