The Effects of DNA Databases on the Deterrence and Detection of Offenders
64 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2016 Last revised: 5 Dec 2017
Date Written: December 1, 2017
This paper studies how collecting offender DNA profiles affects offenders’ later recidivism and likelihood of getting caught by exploiting a large expansion of Denmark’s DNA database. We find that DNA profiling increases detection probability and reduces recidivism within the following year by as much as 43%. We estimate the elasticity of criminal behavior with respect to the probability of detection to be -1.7, implying that a 1% higher detection probability reduces crime by almost 2%. We also find that DNA profiling changes non-criminal behavior: profiled offenders are more likely to engage in a stable relationship, and live with their children.
Keywords: DNA, deterrence, crime, recidivism, technology
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation