The Effects of Punishment of Crime in Colombia on Deterrence, Incapacitation, and Human Capital Formation

59 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2013

See all articles by Arlen Guarin

Arlen Guarin

Central Bank of Colombia

Jorge Tamayo

Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

Carlos Medina

Central Bank of Colombia

Date Written: July 2013

Abstract

Using individual data on persons arrested in the Medellin Metropolitan Area, this paper assesses whether the change in punishment at age 18, mandated by law, has a deterrent effect on arrests. No deterrent effect was found on index, violent or property crimes, but a deterrence effect was found on non-index crimes, specifically those related to drug consumption and trafficking. The change in criminal penalties at 18 years of age does not explain future differences in human capital formation among the population that had been arrested immediately after versus immediately before reaching 18 years of age. There is no evidence that the longer length of time to recidivate on the part of individuals arrested for the first time immediately after reaching 18 implies future differences in human capital formation. These results suggest a specific deterrence effect resulting from the harsher experience while in prison of those arrested right after reaching 18.

JEL Classification: D19, J24, K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Guarin, Arlen and Tamayo, Jorge A. and Medina, Carlos, The Effects of Punishment of Crime in Colombia on Deterrence, Incapacitation, and Human Capital Formation (July 2013). IDB Working Paper No. IDB-WP-420, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2367692 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2367692

Arlen Guarin (Contact Author)

Central Bank of Colombia

Carrera 7 #14-78
3551 de Bogotá
Colombia

Jorge A. Tamayo

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Carlos Medina

Central Bank of Colombia ( email )

Carrera 7 #14-78
3551 de Bogotá
Colombia

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