Privately Produced General Deterrence

Posted: 15 Jan 2002

See all articles by Bruce L. Benson

Bruce L. Benson

Florida State University - Department of Economics; Florida State University College of Law

Brent D. Mast

American Enterprise Institute (AEI)

Date Written: October 2001

Abstract

In this study, we use county data on private security establishments and employment for 1977-92 to test two hypotheses. First, we test whether private security deters crime. Second, we test whether Lott and Mustard's estimates of the impact of shall-issue laws on crime are biased due to lack of controls for private security. We find little evidence that private security is reducing the crime rates for assault or larceny. Some estimates suggest murder, robbery, and/or auto theft may be deterred by private security, although these results are not robust. Of all the index crime categories, only rape is estimated to have a consistent negative relationship with private security. In addition, we find little evidence that the Lott and Mustard results are biased due to lack of controls for the private security measures employed in this study.

Suggested Citation

Benson, Bruce L. and Mast, Brent D., Privately Produced General Deterrence (October 2001). Journal of Law & Economics, Vol. 44, No. 2, Part 2, October 2001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=286081

Bruce L. Benson (Contact Author)

Florida State University - Department of Economics ( email )

Tallahassee, FL 30306-2180
United States
850-644-7094 (Phone)
850-644-4535 (Fax)

Florida State University College of Law

425 W. Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, FL 32306
United States

Brent D. Mast

American Enterprise Institute (AEI)

1150 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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