Carr, Jillian Beaugez (2015-05). Three Essays on the Economics of Crime. Doctoral Dissertation.
Potential criminals make decisions about whether and how to commit crimes based on a variety of factors such as personal and environmental considerations including crime prevention policies. Disentangling the effects of government policies from other confounding factors can be a significant challenge in empirical analysis of such policies. Quasi-experimental methods like natural experiments can help distinguish the effects. In this dissertation, I use such methods to determine the effectiveness of sex offender registries, the effect of housing vouchers on criminal activity and the effect of juvenile curfews and rain on crime. I find that an extension of the required sex offender registry length in North Carolina does not decrease sex offense recidivism as desired but that it does reduce the probability that an offender violates probation or other court regulations. This research also shows that receiving a housing voucher makes male heads of household more likely to be arrested for a violent offense. Lastly, this work shows that juvenile curfews are ineffective at reducing crime in Washington D. C. and demonstrates that incapacitating criminals by sending them inside may be an effective policy by showing that rain does reduce crime. These three results highlight the general difficulty in designing effective anti-crime policy as well as poverty assistance programs.