The Economics of Crime : An Introduction to Rational Crime Analysis book cover
1st Edition

The Economics of Crime
An Introduction to Rational Crime Analysis

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ISBN 9780415771740
Published July 19, 2008 by Routledge
144 Pages

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Book Description

Since Gary Becker’s seminal article in the late sixties, the economic analysis of crime has blossomed, from an interesting side field within law and economics, into a mature stand-alone sub-discipline that has been embraced by many well-respected academic economists. Wide ranging and accessible, this is the most up-to-date textbook in this area, taking current economic research and making it accessible to undergraduates and other interested readers. Without use of graphs or mathematical equations, Winter combines theory and empirical evidence with controversial examples from the news media. Topics discussed include:


  • the death penalty,
  • racial profiling,
  • rational drug addiction and drug legalization,
  • private crime deterrence,
  • gun control,
  • the privatization of prisons,
  • juvenile crime,
  • alternative social reforms to deter crime


By requiring no previous knowledge of economics, not only is this book a perfect choice for students new to the study of economics and public policy, it will also be of interest and accessible to students of criminology, law, political science, and other disciplines interested in the study of crime topics. By emphasizing the benefits and costs of social policy to deter crime, The Economics of Crime can be enjoyed by anyone who follows current public policy debate over one of society’s most contentious issues.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents, Preface, Chapter One: Rational Crime Basics, Chapter Two: Efficient Punishment and Fines, Chapter Three: Prison and Crime Deterrence, Chapter Four: The Death Penalty and Crime Deterrence, Chapter Five: Race and Crime, Chapter Six: Private Crime Deterrence, Chapter Seven: Drugs and Crime, Chapter Eight: Social Reforms and Crime Deterrence, Chapter Nine: Conclusion: What Economists Do, References

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Harold Winter is Associate Professor at Ohio University. His previous book Trade-Offs: An Introduction to Economic Reasoning and Social Issues is available from University of Chicago Press (2005).


"… this slender volume constitutes an excellent, well-referenced jumping-off point for anyone interested in these topics or economists’ perspectives on them. Highly recommended." -- CHOICE (April 2009, Vol. 46); A. R. Sanderson, University of Chicago