The Optimal Deterrence of Crime: A Focus on the Time Preference of DWI Offenders
68 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2019
Date Written: September 20, 2019
We develop a general model for finding the optimal penal strategy based on the behavioral traits of the offenders. We focus on how the discount rate (level of time discounting) affects criminal propensity on the individual level, and how the aggregation of these effects influences criminal activities on the population level. The effects are aggregated based on the distribution of discount rate among the population. We study this distribution empirically through a survey with 207 participants, and we show that it follows zero-inflated exponential distribution. We quantify the effectiveness of the penal strategy as its net utility for the population, and show how this quantity can be maximized. When we apply the maximization procedure on the offense of impaired driving (DWI), we discover that the effectiveness of DWI deterrence depends critically on the amount of fine and prison condition.
Keywords: General Deterrence, Rational Choice Theory, Social Welfare Function, Economic Optimization, Time Preference, Impaired Driving
JEL Classification: C12, C25, C61, C83, I31, K14, K42
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