Crime Versus Justice: Is There a Tradeoff?

36 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 1999

See all articles by Amy Farmer

Amy Farmer

University of Arkansas - Department of Economics

Dek Terrell

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Abstract

When society is divided into two groups with different actual or perceived crime rates, maintaining a low crime rate, minimizing the total number of innocent individuals convicted of a crime and keeping the probability of wrongly convicting an innocent individual equal across groups are incompatible social goals. The model presented here fully develops these tradeoffs and then analyzes the results of a social welfare function containing all three goals. An empirical application of the model estimates that innocent black Americans would be roughly five times more likely to be wrongly convicted of a crime than innocent white Americans if society placed no value on equality when it comes to convictions. Estimates also reveal a similar upper bound for gender inequality.

JEL Classification: J15, K4

Suggested Citation

Farmer, Amy and Terrell, Milton Dek, Crime Versus Justice: Is There a Tradeoff?. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=189391 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.189391

Amy Farmer (Contact Author)

University of Arkansas - Department of Economics ( email )

Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States
501-575-6093 (Phone)
501-575-3241 (Fax)

Milton Dek Terrell

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge - Department of Economics ( email )

Department of economics
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-6308
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
212
Abstract Views
2,421
rank
157,184
PlumX Metrics