NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

An Experimental Test of Criminal Behavior Among Juveniles and Young Adults

Michael S. Visser, William T. Harbaugh, Naci H. Mocan

NBER Working Paper No. 12507
Issued in September 2006
NBER Program(s):   CH   PE

We report results from economic experiments that provide a direct test of the hypothesis that criminal behavior responds rationally to changes in the possible rewards and in the probability and severity of punishment. The experiments involve decisions that are best described as petty larceny, and are done using high school and college students who can anonymously take real money from each other. We find that decisions about whether and how much to steal are, in general, rational and responsive to the variations in tradeoffs, and sometimes, though not always, to the overall availability of criminal opportunities.

download in pdf format
   (222 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (222 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w12507

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Harbaugh, Mocan, and Visser w17059 Theft and Deterrence
Viscusi Market Incentives for Criminal Behavior
Hill, Roberts, Grogger, Guryan, and Sixkiller w16698 Decreasing Delinquency, Criminal Behavior, and Recidivism by Intervening on Psychological Factors Other than Cognitive Ability: A Review of the Intervention Literature
Anderson, Cesur, and Tekin w18656 Youth Depression and Future Criminal Behavior
Jackson w17859 Do College-Prep Programs Improve Long-Term Outcomes?
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us