Individual Precautions to Prevent Theft: Private Versus Socially Optimalbehavior

16 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2007 Last revised: 29 Sep 2010

See all articles by Steven Shavell

Steven Shavell

Harvard Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: December 1990

Abstract

A model is examined in which individuals take precautions that reduce the amount stolen if thieves enter their homes; and the amount of theft is influenced by the level of individuals' precautions. It is emphasized that the motive of individuals acting alone to take precautions may include the diversion of theft to others but does not take into account general deterrence. For this and other reasons, the level of precautions exercised by individuals acting alone may differ from their collectively optimal level and also from the socially optimal level (which reflects effort devoted to theft).

Suggested Citation

Shavell, Steven, Individual Precautions to Prevent Theft: Private Versus Socially Optimalbehavior (December 1990). NBER Working Paper No. w3560. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=471532

Steven Shavell (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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