Michael S. Visser
1801 East Cotati Ave.
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|May 2011||Theft and Deterrence|
with William T. Harbaugh, Naci H. Mocan: w17059
We report results from economic experiments of decisions that are best described as petty larceny, with high school and college students who can anonymously steal real money from each other. Our design allows exogenous variation in the rewards of crime, and the penalty and probability of detection. We find that the probability of stealing is increasing in the amount of money that can be stolen, and that it is decreasing in the probability of getting caught and in the penalty for getting caught. Furthermore, the impact of the certainty of getting caught is larger when the penalty is bigger, and the impact of the penalty is bigger when the probability of getting caught is larger.
Published: “ Theft and Deterrence ,” with Bill Harbaugh and Mike Visser. (NBER Working Paper No: 17059). Journal of Labor Research . December 2013. Vol. 34 (4), pp. 389 - 407. citation courtesy of
|September 2006||An Experimental Test of Criminal Behavior Among Juveniles and Young Adults|
with William T. Harbaugh, Naci H. Mocan: w12507
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.