Punishment Severity and Crime: The Case of Arkansas
Social Science and Global Studies
This paper investigates the impact of a marginal change in punishment severity on the incidence of crime. I explore Arkansas’ (AR) milder punishment for theft, which was adopted in 2011 in order to deal with prison overcrowding. The decrease in punishment contributed to growing theft rates in AR, suggesting criminals respond to the reduced crime-specific punishment. The findings also indicate that the likely lower incarceration for theft did not lead to an increase in other types of crime.
Review of Law and Economics
(2018). Punishment Severity and Crime: The Case of Arkansas. Review of Law and Economics, 15(1).
Available at: https://aquila.usm.edu/fac_pubs/18058