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NCJ Number: 66663 Find in a Library
Title: RECENT ECONOMETRIC MODELING OF CRIME AND PUNISHMENT SUPPORT FOR THE DETERRENCE HYPOTHESIS?
Journal: EVALUATION REVIEW  Volume:4  Issue:2  Dated:(APRIL 1980)  Pages:147-191
Author(s): S S BRIER; S E FIENBERG
Corporate Author: Sage Publications, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 45
Sponsoring Agency: Institute for Scientific Information
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America

Institute for Scientific Information
University City Science Ctr
3501 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS ARTICLE REVIEWS ATTEMPTS BY BECKER AND ERLICH TO DEVELOP ECONOMETRIC MODELS FOR ASSESSING THE DETERRENT EFFECT OF PUNISHMENT. ALSO, VALIDATION ANALYSES BASED ON THESE MODELS ARE CRITIQUED.
Abstract: THE DIFFICULTIES IN ATTEMPTING TO STUDY DETERRENCE THROUGH EMPIRICAL INVESTIGATION ARE DISCUSSED IN GENERAL, AND FOCUS IS THEN DIRECTED TO THE BECKER-EHRLICH ECONOMETRIC MODEL FOR CRIME AND PUNISHMENT AND THE PROBLEMS INVOLVED IN THE EMPIRICAL IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS MODEL. THE ECONOMETRIC THEORY SUGGESTS THAT CRIMINALS COMMIT CRIMES AFTER MAKING RATIONAL DECISION ABOUT THE FINANCIAL REWARDS OF CRIME WHEN COMPARED TO CHANCES OF BEING CAUGHT AND CONVICTED AND TO THE FINANCIAL REWARDS OF LEGAL ACTIVITIES. PUBLISHED EMPIRICAL TESTS OF THE MODEL ARE THEN OUTLINED, TOGETHER WITH CRITICAL REANALYSES. ONE OF THESE TESTS DEALS WITH CROSS-SECTIONAL DATA FOR 1960 AND 1970, WHILE THE OTHER DEALS PRIMARILY WITH LONGITUDINAL DATA FOR HOMICIDE AND INCLUDES A SPECIAL LOOK AT THE DETERRENT EFFECTS OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENTS. FINALLY, CONCLUSIONS REGARDING THE EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE ON DETERRENCE ARE PRESENTED IN A 5-POINT OUTLINE. THIS OUTLINE CONTENDS THAT (1) THE BECKER-EHRLICH MODEL HAS GLARING SHORTCOMINGS AND DOES NOT LEAD TO THE CLAIMED TESTABLE HYPOTHESES REGARDING THE EFFECT OF PUNISHMENT ON CRIME; (2) THE USE OF THE BECKER-EHRLICH MODEL FOR AGGREGATE DATA REQUIRES EXTENSIVE JUSTIFICATION THAT HAS NEVER BEEN GIVEN; (3) THE CRIME AND IMPRISONMENT DATA USED TO EMPIRICALLY EXAMINE THE BECKER-EHRILICH MODEL ARE SO UNTRUSTWORTHY AS TO RENDER ANY SERIOUS ANALYSIS MEANINGLESS; (4) THE EMPIRICAL IMPLEMENTATIONS OF THE BECKER-EHRLICH MODELS ARE BADLY FLAWED AND HAVE EXTREMELY GRAVE STATISTICAL SHORTCOMINGS, AND MOST PUBLISHED CONCLUSIONS FROM THEM ARE NOT TO BE TRUSTED; AND (5) EVEN IF THE MODEL AND EHRLICH'S CHOICE OF DATA TO IMPLEMENT IT ARE ACCEPTED, THE AFFIRMATIVE CONCLUSIONS REGARDING THE DETERRENT EFFECT OF PUNISHMENT, ON MURDER IN PARTICULAR, DO NOT STAND UP TO CAREFUL STATISTICAL SCRUTINY. SOME SPECIFIC FLAWS INCLUDE ERLICH'S PROPENSITY TO USE UNIFROM CRIME REPORT DATA AT A MEASURE OF CRIME INCIDENCE IN SPITE OF WIDELY-ACCEPTED LIMITATIONS OF THESE DATA, HIS USE OF THE NUMBERS ONE TO DEMOTE EXECUTIONS HAVING TAKEN PLACE OFTEN 1967-75 IN HIS STUDIES ON CAPITAL PUNISHMENT AND DETERRENCE (ERLICH PICKS HIS NUMBER ARBITRARILY TO USE IN THE MODEL'S LOGARITHM DESPITE THE FACT HAT NO EXECUTION TOOLS PLACE DURING THIS PERIOD), AND HIS OVERLOOKING THE FACT THAT ONLY CERTAIN TYPES OF HOMICIDE ARE PUNISHABLE WITH DEATH. IT IS POINTED OUT IN IN CONCLUSION THAT THESE CRITICISMS ARE IN AGREEMENT WITH CONCLUSIONS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES PANEL ON RESEARCH ON DETERRENT AND INCAPACITATIVE EFFECTS. FOOTNOTES AND TABULAR DATA ARE PROVIDED. (MRK)
Index Term(s): Analysis; Capital punishment; Crime Rate; Critiques; Data integrity; Deterrence effectiveness; Economic influences; Models; Research design; Research methods; Studies
Note: PRICE QUOTED FOR SAGE IS A SINGLE ISSUE PRICE.
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=66663

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