Is Being 'Soft on Crime' the Solution to Rising Crime Rates? Evidence from Germany

55 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2008

See all articles by Horst Entorf

Horst Entorf

Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Hannes Spengler

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research - International Finance and Financial Management

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Abstract

Based on a theoretical framework on informal, custodial and non-custodial sentencing, the paper provides econometric tests on the effectiveness of police, public prosecution and courts. Using a unique dataset covering German states for the period 1977-2001, a comprehensive system of criminal prosecution indicators is derived and subsequently related to the incidence of six major offence categories using panel-econometrics. Empirical evidence suggests that the criminal policy of diversion failed as increasing shares of dismissals by prosecutors and judges enhance crime rates in Germany. Crime is significantly deterred by higher clearance and conviction rates, while the effects of indicators representing type (fine, probation, imprisonment) and severity (length of prison sentence, size of fine) of punishment are often small and insignificant.

Keywords: evaluation of policy reforms, econometrics of crime, panel econometrics

JEL Classification: K14, K42, C23

Suggested Citation

Entorf, Horst and Spengler, Hannes, Is Being 'Soft on Crime' the Solution to Rising Crime Rates? Evidence from Germany. IZA Discussion Paper No. 3710, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1278910 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0042-7092.2007.00700.x

Horst Entorf (Contact Author)

Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE ( email )

(http://www.safe-frankfurt.de)
Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 3
Frankfurt am Main, 60323
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Hannes Spengler

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research - International Finance and Financial Management ( email )

Postfach 103443
Mannheim, D-68034
Germany
+49 621 1235 284 (Phone)

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