Essay about Economics of Crime: Capital Punishment

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Capital punishment was an ancient penalty. This has incurred many argues since 18th century. The focal points are ‘value of life’ and ethical concerns. Besides, the economics analysis also is important, which focuses on the effects and efficiency of capital punishment. In the article, the anterior part indicates the supporting reasons of death penalty, the posterior part indicates the cons.

Support Reason
Deterrence of punishment
Becker (1968), first of all, assumes that the crime is bad which incurs social loss, it should be deterred, death penalty is the severest punishment, and potential criminals are normal individuals. Because individuals are rational, the potential criminals also are rational. They commit crime as maximization of utility. The opportunity cost of committing crime is the net utility from legitimate activity. Therefore, the criminals forgo the crime when expected net utility from crime is lower than the expected net utility derived from legitimate activity. We focus on the expected net utility from crime “E(U)” and equation shows below:
P is the subjective probability of the being caught and convicted; U(_) is the individuals utility function, which depend on Y and F; Y is the benefits from committing crime; F is the cost from committing crime if caught, such as punishment.
Therefore the potential criminals will be deterred by the severe punishment.
Almost people are afraid be death, so the capital punishment is extreme severe punishment, which wipes out the benefits from crime efficiently. The capital punishment should be powerful to deter crimes.

Dynamic Analysis
In the dynamic model, the past crime would incur the expansive of future crime as the diminishi...

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...e of Crime by Type of Community, Review of Social Economy, Vol. 43, Pages 245-259
McManus, W.S. (1985) Estimates of the Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: The Importance of the Researcher's Prior Beliefs, The Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 93, No. 2, Pages 417-425
Dickens, W. (1986) Crime and Punishment Again: The Economic Approach With a Psychological Twist, Journal of Public Economics, Vol.30, Pages 97-107
Hansen, K., Machin, S. (2002) Spatial Crime Patterns and the Introduction of the UK Minimum Wage, Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statics, Vol. 64, Supplement 1, Pages 667-697
Oppedahl, J. (2009) Montana Can't Afford the Death Penalty, Helena Independent Record -
[5] Northern Ireland: The Troubles, BBC History,

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