The Effects of DNA Databases on the Deterrence and Detection of Offenders Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper studies the effects of adding criminal offenders to a DNA database. Using a large expansion of Denmarks DNA database, we find that DNA registration reduces recidivism within the following year by up to 42 percent. It also increases the probability that offenders are identified if they recidivate, which we use to estimate the elasticity of crime with respect to the detection probability and find that a 1 percent higher detection probability reduces crime by more than 2 percent. We also find that DNA registration increases the likelihood that offenders find employment, enroll in education, and live in a more stable family environment. (JEL J22, J24, K42)

published proceedings

  • American Economic Journal Applied Economics

altmetric score

  • 140.28

author list (cited authors)

  • Anker, A., Doleac, J. L., & Landers, R.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Anker, Anne Sofie Tegner||Doleac, Jennifer L||Landersø, Rasmus

publication date

  • October 2021