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Optimizing Criminal Behavior and the Disutility of Prison

Mastrobuoni, Giovanni and Rivers, David A (2017) Optimizing Criminal Behavior and the Disutility of Prison. Working Paper. IZA Discussion Papers. (Unpublished)


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We use rich microdata on bank robberies to estimate individual-level disutilities 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 behavior. Our results show that unobserved heterogeneity in 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: Monograph (Working Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: K40; K42; H11; sentencing enhancements; severity; deterrence; crime; robberies; disutility of prison
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Economics, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2020 11:17
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2022 19:33

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