State Prisoner Elasticities and Integrated State Policies Using Non-Prison Alternatives
23 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2015
Date Written: March 25, 2015
Research Summary: This study estimates national and state prisoner elasticities for violent crime, property crime, murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, and auto theft, benchmarking the results against previous studies. The state elasticities vary widely across states, implying that the use of national estimates at the state level will often lead to misallocations of state funds. In modeling crime, experiments are conducted to assess the use of first-differences and lagged dependent variables. The initial results here suggest that it may be possible to closely approximate national and state prisoner elasticities using lagged dependent variables as substitutes for control variables. Policy Implications: The main purpose of the paper is to demonstrate an integrative approach to state policymaking aimed at reducing crime and costs. For each state, the prisoner elasticities are combined with current data on crime and imprisonment, prison maxouts, time served, and high school education in an effort to formulate coordinated policies based on recent research on the criminogenic effects of prison, deterrence, social and other non-prison alternatives, and compulsory education. Broad-brush policies are proposed for 19 states, with special attention to Louisiana and Florida.
Keywords: Crime, Incarceration, Prisoners, State crime policy, panel-data models
JEL Classification: K42, C5, C23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation