Economists have, in the last 20 years, made many contributions to the study of the deterrent effect of sanctions on criminals these are surveyed in Brief & Fienberg 1980, Blumstein & Cohen 1978, Tullock 1974, Palmer 1977 and Taylor 1978. A considerable amount of the empirical work has dealt with crime supply functions for specific types of crime. Surprisingly little attention has been given to the switching of criminals between crimes in response to differentials in deterrence. Only three empirical studies of this phenomenon have appeared Heineke 1978, Holtmann & Yap 1978, Hakim et al. 1984. All of these use crosssection US data for property crimes. Their findings are thus somewhat tentative given that they may not hold up in other national contexts. This paper seeks to remedy this gap by studying substitution behaviour for burglary, robbery and theft using 1981 data for the police force areas of England and Wales. We compare our results with those of American researchers and also examine the impact of substitution on the broad conclusions of the conventional nonsubstitution model.
International Journal of Social Economics – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 1, 1987
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