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How Much Crime Reduction Does the Marginal Prisoner Buy?. Rucker Johnson Goldman School of Public Policy UC Berkeley Steven Raphael Goldman School of Public Policy UC Berkeley. Basic Identification Strategy.

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how much crime reduction does the marginal prisoner buy

How Much Crime Reduction Does the Marginal Prisoner Buy?

Rucker Johnson

Goldman School of Public Policy

UC Berkeley

Steven Raphael

Goldman School of Public Policy

UC Berkeley

basic identification strategy
Basic Identification Strategy
  • Shocks to underlying criminal behavior have immediate as well as lagged effects on annual incarceration rates.
  • Changes in crime in a period when there is a shock to criminal behavior will be driven by the change in behavior as well as any changes in incarceration.
  • Change in crime along the dynamic adjustment path between equilibrium crime rates will be driven by changes in incarceration alone.
slide6
Characterizing the dynamic adjustment paths of incarceration and crime to a permanent shock to criminality
we can derive a similar equilibrium adjustment path for crime
We can derive a similar equilibrium adjustment path for crime
  • Note, the first term in crime adjustment path is positive yet diminishing in time, t.
  • The second term is equal to the equilibrium crime rate for t>0.
  • Together, the two components indicate that an increase in c causes a discrete increase in crime above the new long-term equilibrium and then adjusts to the new equilibrium from above.
slide8

Incarceration rate

S*, t>0

S*, t=0

t=0 t=1

Time since shock

slide9

Incarceration rate

Crimerate

S*, t>0

C*, t>0

S*, t=0

C*, t=0

t=0 t=1

Time since shock

slide10
Deriving explicit expressions for the periodic changes in incarceration and crime for t=0 and t=1 where ΔSt=St+1-St

Changes in the incarceration rate

implementing the identification strategy using a state level panel data set
Implementing the identification strategy using a state-level panel data set
  • Estimating cp and θ by state and year
  • Identifying permanent shocks and adopting the identification strategy to the reality of serial shocks to the underlying transition probabilities rather than single shocks.
remaining data issues
Remaining data issues
  • Data covers the periods from 1978 to 2004. We present estimates for the entire period and separately for two sub-periods.
  • Data on crime (7 part 1 felony offenses) from the Uniform Crime Reports
  • Population totals come from the Census bureau as do a number of state-level demographic measures.
  • Regional economic indicators come from either the Bureau of Labor Statistics or the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
comparison of these results to those from previous research
Comparison of these results to those from previous research
  • Our violent crime-prison elasticity estimates range from -0.06 to -0.113 and property crime estimates range from -0.15 to -0.21.
  • Levitt (1996) estimates range from -0.38 to -0.42 for violent crime and -0.26 to -0.32 for property crime.
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