Title

Punishment Severity and Crime: The Case of Arkansas

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-25-2018

School

Social Science and Global Studies

Abstract

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.

Publication Title

Review of Law and Economics

Volume

15

Issue

1

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