By Gary Stanley Becker
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Extra resources for Essays in the economics of crime and punishment (Human behavior and social institutions)
But equations (21) and (22) indicate 23. Thus if b < 0, average revenue would be positive and the optimal value of There was a ten tunes in Anglo-Saxon underdeveloped couni rather severely, at thc 24. If b < 0, the optini Optimal social policy woul 25. Since conditions given by eqs. (2 From this condition and ft Ej would be greater than 1, and that of a,, could be less than I only if C,, were sufficiently large. inf would leave loss, because the cost by the reduction in p. ing p arbitrarily clos( product pf would md offenders were risk a arbitrarily close to ze only C but also 0 an be determined.
Consequently, the positive correlation between p,f, and the severity of 32. "If a suspect is neither known to the victim nor arrested at the scene of the crime, the chances of ever arresting him are very slim" (President's Commission, 1967e, p. 8). This conclusion is based on a study of crimes in parts of Los Angeles during January, 1966. Nu a- GARY S. BECKER APPROACH 23 offenses observed in the table cannot be explained by a negative correla(or C') and severity. tion between If b > 0, a reduction in the elasticity of offenses with respect to f increases the marginal revenue of changing offenses by changing f (see Figure 4a).
28) Since C' > 0, (28) requires that D' < 0 or that the marginal private gain exceed the marginal external harm, which generally means a smaller It is easy to show that equation number of offenses than when D' = (28) would be satisfied if the fine equaled the sum of marginal harm and - would replace equal conviction were fixe > 0,39 and thus that number when costs Victjon increase or d pends, therefore, on fine or in the probabj control, the optimal j: to zero, unless the sc the discussion in Sec.