Crime, punishment and deterrence in Australia: A further empirical investigation

Bodman, Philip M. and Maultby, Cameron (1997) Crime, punishment and deterrence in Australia: A further empirical investigation. International Journal of Social Economics, 24 7/8/9: 884-901. doi:10.1108/EUM0000000004335

Author Bodman, Philip M.
Maultby, Cameron
Title Crime, punishment and deterrence in Australia: A further empirical investigation
Journal name International Journal of Social Economics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0306-8293
Publication date 1997
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1108/EUM0000000004335
Volume 24
Issue 7/8/9
Start page 884
End page 901
Total pages 18
Place of publication Bradford, U.K.
Publisher Emerald Group Publishing
Language eng
Subject 140299 Applied Economics not elsewhere classified
140211 Labour Economics
140301 Cross-Sectional Analysis
1499 Other Economics
Formatted abstract
The economic theory of crime is based on the assumption that rational individuals act to maximize their utility given the possibility of allocating their time or resources to different activities (including crime). Withers (1984) represents the only significant, aggregative empirical analysis of the determinants of crime, and importance of general deterrence effects, in Australia, derived on the basis of this market model economic approach to criminal activity. Extends the economic analysis of crime in Australia by employing a rigorous approach to both the specification of the underlying economic model of crime and to the estimation of the statistical relationships in the data. Uses improved data measures - notably sentence length - that represent more suitable proxies for the theoretical concepts of interest. The inclusion of labour force participation as a highly significant explanatory factor represents a major specification improvement over earlier studies. Examines four categories of property crime in Australia over the period 1982-1991. The findings provide significant support for a number of the postulates of the economic theory of crime. These include the negative, deterrence effect of both clearance rates (as a proxy for the probability of punishment) and expected sentence length (as a proxy for the severity of punishment) on the number of property crimes committed. Also finds a significant deterrence relationship between the aggregate unemployment rate and the labour force participation rate and certain categories of property crime. These findings provide important support for the market model of crime and the general deterrence hypothesis and opposition to the continuing prevalence of the simplistic sociological analysis of imprisonment and recidivism, which ignores general deterrence effects.
© MCB University Press
Keyword Australia
Labour force
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
School of Economics Publications
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Created: Tue, 13 Jul 2010, 13:41:20 EST by Jon Swabey on behalf of Faculty of Business, Economics & Law