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When does regression analysis work?

When applied to a suitable empirical setting, simple linear regression (fixed effects, difference-in-difference, and regression discontinuity) can provide researchers with valuable information on the causal relationship of interest.

Alcohol consumption and crime

Consistent with our common wisdom (and occasional first-hand experiences), findings from laboratory experiments indicate that excessive alcohol consumption can increase aggressiveness and emotional responses, and inhibits decision-making skills. It is …

The Effect of Private Security on Crime

You may have the impression that it is mainly the government’s job to fight crime. After all, governments spend a lot of taxpayers’ money to hire police officers, prosecutors, judges, …

Summary of Week 4

This week, we looked at the effect of prison on crime. The rational choice model predicts that tougher sentencing laws should reduce crime by increasing the severity of punishment, and …

It takes more than just police and prison

Consider a simple rational choice model below, in which an individual chooses to offend only if the net gains from offending is greater than the net gains from not offending: …

Education and Crime

There is a noticeable disparity in educational attainment between criminals and non-criminals. In 2000, only 32 percent of U.S. prisoners completed high school, while 87 percent of the U.S. adult …

What Effect Does Death Penalty Have on Crime?

Capital punishment, once a widely-used form of punishment, is now abolished in many countries. According to the Amnesty International, 102 counties formally abolished the death penalty and 32 counties abolished …

Regression discontinuity

Legal and institutional requirements often provide an ideal setting to run the regression discontinuity analysis, where two seemingly comparable individuals are subject to very different treatments because of a pre-determined …

Unintended consequences of incarceration

We saw how tougher sentencing polices can significantly reduce crime through incapacitation and deterrent effects. At the same time, there are important social costs associated with incarceration. In addition to …

Prison population statistics

Consider the following graphs. Figure 1 presents the rate of incarceration in U.S. prisons since 1960. Figures 2 and 3 illustrate violent and property crime rates in the U.S. during …

Incapacitation and deterrent effects of prison

Between 1960 and 2010, the inflation-adjusted, per capita expenditure on corrections in the U.S. increased by 240 percent. (This includes the costs of prison operation, employment of prison, probation, and …

Difference-in-differences

In order to obtain a causal effect of police presence on crime, Di Tella and Schargrodsky exploited the sudden, unexpected increase in police presence near Jewish and Muslim institutions after …