References (10)



Social Welfare and the Benefits to Crime

Philip A. Curry

University of Waterloo

Matthew Doyle

University of Waterloo

January 17, 2012

There exists a large literature on the optimal deterrence of crime. Within the literature, however, there exists a controversy over what the appropriate criterion is to determine optimality. The most popular method is that of maximization of a utilitarian welfare function. The controversy stems from the fact that the benefits to crime are included in the welfare analysis. Another criterion that could be used is that of cost minimization. This paper demonstrates that maximizing the sum of utilities is in fact equivalent to minimizing the costs of crime. The model developed also provides explanations for sanctions that increase in one's criminal history and why necessity may be a partial defense.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 26

Keywords: economics of crime, social welfare

JEL Classification: K14, D63

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Date posted: January 18, 2012 ; Last revised: July 18, 2012

Suggested Citation

Curry, Philip A. and Doyle, Matthew, Social Welfare and the Benefits to Crime (January 17, 2012). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1987177 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1987177

Contact Information

Philip A. Curry (Contact Author)
University of Waterloo ( email )
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1
Matthew Doyle
University of Waterloo ( email )
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1
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