Week 7 (7).ppt - 1 Rational Choice Economics Bounded...

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Rational Choice, Economics, Bounded Rationality, and Crime 1
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List of topics The economic perspective on crime Cornish & Clarke’s “crime as a rational choice” Can rational choice explain violence? Pure rationality vs. bounded rationality Deterrence studies Criticisms and limitations 2
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The Economic Perspective on Crime Economics: the science of incentives Economic theory is useful to study any kind of behaviors, including seemingly “irrational” behaviors (e.g. selection of sexual partners, drug addiction, suicide). The goal is to understand the hidden rationality behind these behaviors. Incentives are probabilistic: They do not affect everyone the same. For example, if the price of cocaine goes down, some people will use more, but not everyone will become a cocaine user. Similarly rational choice theory implies that people behave rationally on average , not that everybody behave rationally all the time. 3
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The Economic Perspective on Crime Economic theory posits that individuals try to maximize their outcome based on perceived rewards and costs of behaviors, including perceived rewards and costs of alternative behaviors Therefore, an economic understanding of crime involves not only the perceived rewards and costs of criminal activities, but also the perceived rewards and costs of non-criminal activities 4
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The Economic Perspective on Crime: Incentives for Non- Criminal Activities Rewards Earn legal income More predictable lifestyle Engage in long term goals Engage in everyday pleasures Relatively safe Moral reward? Costs Legal income too low for desired lifestyle Boring everyday routine Requires discipline and sacrifice 5
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The Economic Perspective on Crime: Incentives for Criminal Activities Rewards Earn illegal income; “fast money” Intense lifestyle Use force or fraud to “get what you want” Requires little discipline or sacrifice Costs Negative label Stressful & dangerous Difficult to invest in long term goals Legal sanctions Health consequences of the intense lifestyle Moral cost? 6
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The Seduction of Crime (Katz, 1988) 7
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Cornish & Clarke’s “Crime as a Rational Choice” The decisions to commit crime (1) General decision to begin: Initial involvement model (2) Specific decision to commit a particular criminal act: Event model (3) Decision to recidivate: Continuing involvement model (4) General decision to stop: Desistance model 8
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Cornish & Clarke’s “Crime as a rational choice” General decision to become a criminal: Initial involvement model Similar to the economic theory presented earlier Also includes specific incentives and facilitators: Easy criminal opportunities Peer pressure Alcohol and drug consumption Urgent (desperate) need for money 9
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