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NCJ Number: 157422 Find in a Library
Title: Discounting as an Individual Variable (From Integrating Crime Prevention Strategies: Propensity and Opportunity, P 241- 254, 1995, Per-Olof H Wikstrom, Ronald V Clarke, et al., eds. -- See NCJ-157412)
Author(s): C G Janson
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: National Council for Crime Prevention
S-113 21 Stockholm, Sweden
Sale Source: National Council for Crime Prevention
P.O. Box 1386
S-113 21 Stockholm,
Sweden
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: Sweden
Annotation: After developing the theory of "discounting" future consequences according to their distance in time, this paper examines the findings of a Swedish study to determine whether "discounting" as a character trait translates into deviant behavior.
Abstract: When discounting is analyzed in economic rational-choice models, it is usually expressed as a certain mathematical function of time: the exponential. The standard procedure for assessing a person's discounting tendencies is to ask the interviewee to compare two situations, one at time t1 with utility u and another at a later time t2 with a higher utility value (v). Utilities usually are expressed as amount of money or some commodity. In 1966, the School Study of Project Metropolitan included a primitive version of a question that assessed the respondent's discounting tendency. The members of the cohort of Stockholmers (Sweden), then 13 years old, were asked, "If you were given a choice between 100 SEK now and 1,000 SEK in 5 years, which would you choose?" Possible answers were "Certainly 100 SEK now," "Probably 100 SEK now," "Can't choose," "Probably 1,000 SEK in 5 years," and "Certainly 1,000 SEK in 5 years." Findings show that definitely preferring 100 SEK now was associated with being known to the police and to the Child-Welfare-Committee (CWC) for offending or for other problem behavior. Definite preference for 100 SEK now was also associated with heavy drinking, drug use, glue sniffing, and problems at home or in school. The study results are weak yet promising. They suggest the possibility of measuring relative rates of discounting independent of offending. The time distribution of offending's possible effects and the offender's discounting make a stronger case for prevention policies that focus on the immediate or short-term aspects of the alternative open to potential offenders. 3 tables and 25 references
Main Term(s): Crime prevention planning
Index Term(s): Decisionmaking; Offender profiles
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