Essays on recidivism
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This dissertation presents four essays that delineate four aspects of recidivism. The four aspects are: (1) rate of reoffending, (2) cure from crime, (3) destination specific transitions to crime ex post release from prison, and (4) the impact of recidivism on the households decisions in the context of property crime and the deterrence effects of punishment on the offenders. Chapter 2 aims to demonstrate that an essential element of determining the reoffending rate among the recidivists is their past crime history. The proposed model is an ordered probit model in which the latent variable is the the number of crimes the offenders' desire to commit (offenders' intensity of reoffending) and the observed variable is the number of times an offender is rearrested or reconvicted within three years ex post release from the prison in 1994. The literature on recidivism is ambiguous as to what constitutes recidivism. We consider both of them as measures of reoffending rates and estimate two separate models one for rearrests and another for reconvictions. Chapter 3 presents a parametric mixture cure model of recidivism that accounts for unobserved heterogeneity. We consider the possibility that some offenders are cured of crime and do not take to crime again, and that some are not. The practical interest in estimating the cured proportion and the effect of stock variables on both the cured proportion and the failure times of the uncured recidivists makes mixture modeling an attractive technique. The size of the data set used in the analysis combined with the appropriate choice of explanatory variables yields support in favor of using cure models even when the follow-up period is not very long. Chapter 4 discusses the issue of destination specific transitions using a parametric competing risk analysis framework in the presence of unobserved heterogeneity. The transitions destinations are felony and misdemeanor. Chapter 5 develops a structural model that captures the strategic interaction between house-holds and recidivists. This chapter provides a micro-foundation for the recidivistic behavior of criminals who indulge in property crimes and the behavior of households facing the threat of such crimes. Literature in economics of crime has paid little attention to recidivism. However, U.S data show that the rate of recidivism is the highest (73.8%) for property criminals and that it is growing over time. We fill this gap in the literature by developing a two-stage sequential game played by households and recidivists while an exogenous central planner raises the tax revenue needed for public safety, either by maximizing aggregate household welfare or median household welfare. The probabilities of crime and detection are endogenously determined through the strategic interaction of households and recidivists in the model. We then use the equilibrium conditions of the game and city level data to estimate the dollar value of deterrence from punishment, the tax rate impact on the households, the rate of recidivism, and the probability of a household falling victim to crime.