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11/05/2006

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Erich Bahl

"In his paper "Crime and Punishment – An Economic Approach" (1968) and in subsequent publications, Becker advanced the alternative view that criminals were basically rent-seeking, trying to secure more of the resources that others produced instead of contributing to economic growth themselves. He posited that criminals are rational, performing a kind of cost-benefit analysis in which they set the gains they stand to make from a crime against the likelihood of being caught and facing a penalty. He concluded that society can alter that cost-benefit equation in two ways, by increasing the likelihood of detection, or by increasing the penalties faced upon conviction." Yet in this blog post, Becker seems to abandon that premise and incorporate other variables into the reduction of crime rates and the cost-benefit equation. It seems that this more recent evaluation of ways to lower crime rates in major cities is more complete because crime is far too complex to be considered a dichotomy. Despite the nitpicking, I love the work that was done because it shows a whole new way to think about the world in an economic way. Thanks for the contributions...

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