Towards a Criminal Justice Economics?

Publication Type: Edited Books and Chapter

Commissioned by: Law and econmics. Essays in honour of Erling Eide. Oslo, Cappelen Akademisk, 2010

Principal Investigator/lead organisation: Bowles R.

In collaboration with: Erik Røsæg, Hans-Bernd Schäfer and Endre Stavang (Eds.)

Although there have been significant developments in the economic modelling of offending behaviour there remains a significant lack of complementarity between these models and the mainstream debate about criminal justice policy. The purpose of this paper is to argue that there is a lot about the economic model of offending that provides material for engaging in the wider criminal justice policy debate but that this gets lost by the traditionally narrow focus of economists on sentencing and enforcement policy. The newer wave of dynamic offending models developed by Emons (2003, 2004) and others, for example, can support a richer analysis of offending than the traditional one-shot models that rely on a lottery approach in which rational agents are less likely to offend if confronted with harsher penalties.These dynamic models also offer a means of mobilising some of the empirical findings in related social science disciplines such as criminology and psychology. They can also be used to generate wider policy implications than the menu of maximal fines and low detection probabilities that has left the economics of crime somewhat isolated and overlooked in policy debate.

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