Economists who bring the tools of economic analysis to bear on the study of crime and crime prevention contribute to current debates a normative framework and sophisticated quantitative methods for evaluating policy, the idea of criminal behavior as rational choice, and the connection of individual choices to aggregate outcomes. The contributors to this volume draw on all three of these approaches in their investigations and discuss the policy implications of their findings.
Reporting on research in the United States, Europe, and South America, the chapters discuss such topics as a cost-benefit analysis of additional police hiring, the testing of innovative policy interventions through field experiments, imprisonment and recidivism rates, incentives and disincentives for sports hooliganism (“hooliganomics”), data showing the influence of organized crime on the quality of local politicians, and the (scant) empirical evidence for the effect of immigration on crime. These contributions demonstrate the eclectic approach of economists studying crime as well as their increasing respect for the contributions of other social scientists in this area.
Brian Bell, Paolo Buonanno, Philip J. Cook, John J. Donohue III, Jeffrey R. Kling, Jens Ludwig, Stephen Machin, Olivier Marie, Giovanni Mastrobuoni, Sendhil Mullainathan, Aurélie Ouss, Emily Greene Owens, Stefan Pichler, Paolo Pinotti, Mikael Priks, Daniel Römer, Rodrigo R. Soares, Igor Viveiros
Paying the Tab, the first comprehensive analysis of this complex policy issue, calls for broadening our approach to curbing destructive drinking. Over the last few decades, efforts to reduce the societal costs--curbing youth drinking and cracking down on drunk driving--have been somewhat effective, but woefully incomplete. In fact, American policymakers have ignored the influence of the supply side of the equation. Beer and liquor are far cheaper and more readily available today than in the 1950s and 1960s.
Philip Cook's well-researched and engaging account chronicles the history of our attempts to "legislate morality," the overlooked lessons from Prohibition, and the rise of Alcoholics Anonymous. He provides a thorough account of the scientific evidence that has accumulated over the last twenty-five years of economic and public-health research, which demonstrates that higher alcohol excise taxes and other supply restrictions are effective and underutilized policy tools that can cut abuse while preserving the pleasures of moderate consumption. Paying the Tab makes a powerful case for a policy course correction. Alcohol is too cheap, and it's costing all of us.