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NCJ Number: 219664 Find in a Library
Title: Predicting Differences in the Perceived Relevance of Crime's Costs and Benefits in a Test of Rational Choice Theory
Journal: International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology  Volume:51  Issue:4  Dated:August 2007  Pages:461-485
Author(s): Jeffrey A. Bouffard
Date Published: August 2007
Page Count: 25
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study provided a test of rational choice theory by allowing participants to develop their own set of relevant consequences for three hypothetical offenses in order to evaluate how several demographic and theoretical factors impacted the relevance of those consequences.
Abstract: Results indicated that individual factors were predictive of the perceived relevance of several cost and benefit types. Specifically, older participants were more concerned with the potential social consequences of shoplifting and with injuring others while driving drunk. Participants with prior offending experience but with no law enforcement contact were less likely to perceive legal costs as relevant to the decision of whether or not to shoplift. On the other hand, the hypothesized positive impacts of higher levels of social bonding and higher levels of self-control did not affect the perceived relevance of social and legal costs to the offenses under question. The findings highlight the importance of developing a full understanding of fundamental issues regarding the types of consequences attended to by different groups of people when they contemplate criminal behavior. Future research should examine whether the relationships between personal characteristics and consequence relevance generalizes to other types of samples. Participants were 212 male and female undergraduate students recruited from an introductory-level course at a medium-sized university. Participants read a series of hypothetical offending scenarios in survey format and responded to questions related to their likelihood of engaging in similar behaviors. Scenarios included a shoplifting incident, a drunk driving incident, and a physical fight at a party. Following the questions regarding the likelihood of engaging in those particular behaviors, participants then developed their own lists of the likely consequences, indicating their perceived level of certainty and severity. Data were analyzed using a series of multivariate logistic regression models. Tables, appendix, references
Main Term(s): Deterrence; Rational public choice theory
Index Term(s): Crime causes theory
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