CrimProf Blog

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

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Frakes & Harding on Deterrence Through Criminal Law

Frakes michaelMichael Frakes (pictured) and Matthew C. Harding (Cornell University - Law School and Stanford University - Department of Economics) have posted The Extensive and Intensive Impacts of Criminal Law on the Incidence of Crime: Evidence from Expansions in the Scope and Severity of Statutory Rape Laws on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

We explore the deterrent impacts of statutory rape laws, drawing on substantial within-state variation in criminal statutes over time. Our analysis facilitates an evaluation of both the impact of initially criminalizing previously permissible activities — a largely unexplored margin — and the subsequent impact of severity enhancements. We proxy the targeted behavior using live birth rates among mothers of different ages. Using a novel methodological framework designed to codify multi-faceted legal structures, our results are consistent with a deterrent impact of statutory rape laws, though one arising predominantly from the initial incidence of an operable felony statute itself.

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