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Punishment and Crime: The Impact of Felony Conviction on Criminal Activity
This paper uses increases in felony larceny thresholds as a negative shock to felony conviction probability to examine the impact of punishment severity on criminal behavior. In the theft value distribution between old and new larceny thresholds (“response region”), higher thresholds cause a 2 percent increase in the average larceny value within 120 days of enactment. However, within five years of enactment, response region average larceny values and rates decline 2 percentand 13 percent, respectively, in low-wage areas. Thus, under certain market conditions, smaller expected penalties ...
Larceny in the Product Market: A Hidden Tax?
This paper compares the distortionary impact of larceny theft across different product markets, characterizing such crime as a “hidden tax” on producers or consumers. We estimate the size of this tax and how it is affected by exogenous changes in larceny rates driven by the enactment of higher felony larceny thresholds. Pre-enactment hidden tax rates are small, ranging from 0.1 percent to 0.4 percent. These tax rates rise or fall with enactment, varying by product market. Such exogenous changes in the hidden tax induce state-level annual welfare changes that are minimal, ranging from ...
The Impact of Felony Larceny Thresholds on Crime in New England
Criminal justice reform has been a high-priority policy area in New England and the nation in recent years. States are generally seeking legislation that would help reintegrate ex-offenders into society while still prioritizing the welfare of all members of the public and the achievement of fiscal goals. The research findings presented in this report indicate that raising felony larceny thresholds—that is, increasing the dollar value of stolen property at or above which a larceny offense may be charged in court as a felony rather than a misdemeanor, a policy adopted by three New England ...