The Effects of DNA Databases on the Deterrence and Detection of Offenders

64 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2016 Last revised: 5 Dec 2017

Anne Sofie Tegner Anker

Rockwool Foundation Research Unit

Jennifer L. Doleac

Texas A&M University - Department of Economics

Rasmus Landersø

Rockwool Foundation Research Unit

Date Written: December 1, 2017

Abstract

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

Tegner Anker, Anne Sofie and Doleac, Jennifer L. and Landersø, Rasmus, The Effects of DNA Databases on the Deterrence and Detection of Offenders (December 1, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2811790 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2811790

Anne Sofie Tegner Anker

Rockwool Foundation Research Unit ( email )

Sejroegade 11
DK-2100 Copenhagen
Denmark

Jennifer L. Doleac (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University - Department of Economics ( email )

5201 University Blvd.
College Station, TX 77843-4228
United States

HOME PAGE: http://jenniferdoleac.com/

Rasmus Landersø

Rockwool Foundation Research Unit ( email )

Sejroegade 11
DK-2100 Copenhagen
Denmark

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