Identifying Efficient Crime-Combating Policies by VAR Models: The Example of Switzerland
Current research suggests that the crime-combating instrument sentence probability is more effective than sentence severity. However, the focus of the simultaneous (or very short-run) impact of the law enforcement policy on crime impedes a comparison of these two instruments with respect to their long-term effectiveness. With Swiss data, this article investigates the dynamic interrelationships between enforcement policy and crime and finds that overall, sentence severity is about the same effective as sentence probability. Furthermore, the authors show how the VAR-modeling technique can be exploited to conveniently distinguish between deterrence and incapacitation effects. More concrete recommendations toward a cost-effective crime-reduction policy can be derived. (JEL "C32", "K42") Copyright 2003 Western Economic Association International.
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