Sunday, September 05, 2021

Criminal Deterrence: A Review of the Missing Literature


When I was an undergraduate we were told that history had ended, and we all believed it. When the Berlin Wall fell, what history was made of was over. No more Cold War. No more wars. And yet here it was, and is and all of it falling apart. Endings. Worlds dissolving. Weather systems, baking systems, the careful plans of municipal gardeners. Families, hearts, lives.
Helen Macdonald, H is for Hawk

Money is like sex,' I said. 'It seems much more important when you don't have any...'

~ Charles Bukowski

Tax can shape society: we should use it to do so

As the FT noted yesterday: The number of UK house and flat sales plummeted last month after buyers accelerated their purchases in June to beat an
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Alex Raskolnikov (Columbia), Criminal Deterrence: A Review of the Missing Literature, 28 Sup. Ct. Econ. Rev. 1 (2020):

This review of the criminal deterrence literature focuses on the questions that are largely missing from many recent excellent and comprehensive reviews of that literature and even from the literature itself. By “missing” I mean, first, questions that criminal deterrence scholars have ignored either completely or to a large extent. These questions range from fundamental (the distributional analysis of the criminal justice system) to those hidden in plain sight (economic analysis of misdemeanors), to those that are well-known yet mostly overlooked (the role of positive incentives, offender’s mental state, and celerity of punishment). Second, I use “missing” to refer to the areas where substantial relevant knowledge exists but is largely disregarded within the criminal deterrence research program. The empirical analysis of environmental and tax compliance is a stark example. Finally, I stretch “missing” to describe topics that have been both studied and reviewed but where substantial challenges remain. These include the theoretical explanation for the role of offense history, the proper accounting for the offender’s gains, the estimation of the costs of various crimes, and the cost-benefit analysis of crime-reduction policies.