CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hansen on Punishment and Recidivism in Drunk Driving

Benjamin Hansen (University of Oregon) has posted Punishment and Recidivism in Drunk Driving on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Traditional economic models of criminal behavior have straightforward predictions: raising the expected cost of crime via apprehension probabilities or punishments decreases crime. I test the effect of harsher punishments on deterring driving under the in‡fluence (DUI). In this setting, punishments are determined by strict rules on Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and previous offenses. Regression discontinuity derived estimates suggest that having a BAC above the DUI threshold reduces recidivism by up to 2 percentage points (17 percent). As receipt of previous DUI violations increases future penalties for drunk driving, this is consistent with Beckerian models of criminal activity. However, enhanced penalties for aggravated DUI also reduce recidivism by an additional percentage point (9 percent), despite the fact that the enhanced punishments only affect the current penalties. This is consistent with models of bounded rationality for offenders, wherein expectations of future punishments are based upon previous punishments experienced.

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This is probably right and also it involves the arresting officer asking the suspect to perform specific exercises so the officer can determine if the driver is physically or mentally hindered.

Posted by: | Sep 21, 2012 9:51:33 PM

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