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Optimizing Criminal Behaviour and the Disutility of Prison

Mastrobuoni, Giovanni and Rivers, David A (2019) 'Optimizing Criminal Behaviour and the Disutility of Prison.' The Economic Journal, 129 (619). 1364 - 1399. ISSN 0013-0133

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We use rich microdata on bank robberies to estimate individual‐level disutilitiesities of imprisonment. The identification rests on the money versus apprehension trade‐off that robbers face inside the bank when deciding whether to leave or collect money for an additional minute. The distribution of the disutility of prison is not degenerate, generating heterogeneity in behaviour. Our results show that unobserved heterogeneity in robber ability is important for explaining outcomes in terms of haul and arrest. Furthermore, higher ability robbers are found to have larger disutilities, suggesting that increased sentence lengths might effectively target these more harmful criminals.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Economics, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2018 15:34
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2020 18:15

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