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Molecular Neuroeconomics of Crime and Punishment: Implications for Neurolaw

NeuroEndocrinology Letters, Forthcoming

18 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2013  

Taiki Takahashi

Hokkaido University

Date Written: February 5, 2013


Criminal behaviors have been associated with risk, time and social preferences in economics (Becker, 1968; Davis, 1988), criminology (Chamlin and Cochran, 1997), and neurolaw (Goodenough and Tucker, 2010). This study proposes a molecular neuroeconomic framework for the investigation into crime and punishment. Neuroeconomic parameters (e.g., risk-attitude, probability weighting, time discounting in intertemporal choice, loss aversion, and social discounting) are predicted to be related to criminal behavior. Neurobiological and neuroendocrinological substrates such as serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, cortisol (a stress hormone), sex hormones (e.g., testosterone), and oxytocin in brain regions such as the orbitofrontal cortex, the amygdala, and the cingulate may be related to the neuroeconomic parameters governing criminal behaviors. The present framework may help us develop “neurolaw” based on molecular neuroeconomics of criminal and antisocial decision-making processes.

Keywords: Crime, Neuroeconomics, Risk, Intertemporal choice, Neurolaw, Social discounting

JEL Classification: D81, D91, I10, J28, K42, K14, C45

Suggested Citation

Takahashi, Taiki, Molecular Neuroeconomics of Crime and Punishment: Implications for Neurolaw (February 5, 2013). NeuroEndocrinology Letters, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:

Taiki Takahashi (Contact Author)

Hokkaido University ( email )

Sapporo, Hokkaido 0

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