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Course 2023-2024 a.y.

20687 - ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF CRIME

Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English



Go to class group/s: 31

CLMG (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - M (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - IM (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - MM (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - AFC (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - CLELI (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - ACME (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - DES-ESS (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - EMIT (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - GIO (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - DSBA (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - PPA (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01) - FIN (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SECS-P/01)
Course Director:
PAOLO PINOTTI

Classes: 31 (II sem.)
Instructors:
Class 31: PAOLO PINOTTI


Synchronous Blended: Lessons in synchronous mode in the classroom (for a maximum of one hour per credit in remote mode)

Suggested background knowledge

Students of all study programs are welcome to this class. The approach is quantitative, so a good knowledge of statistics and econometrics from introductory courses is recommended.


Mission & Content Summary
MISSION

The course introduces students to the economic analysis of crime. The analysis is based on the choice-theoretic model of crime. The empirical approach mainly focuses on causal relationships. The methods covered allow students to address questions that are relevant from a social and political perspective: Do longer prison sentences deter crimes What are the economic costs of organized crime Do the police and the judicial system discriminate against minorities What are the effects of immigration on crime How can we detect and curb corruption These are just examples of the type of questions that motivate this course. At the end of the course, students are able to go through the multiple stages of a research project on these topics.

CONTENT SUMMARY
  • Challenges to the empirical analysis of crime

                   Measuring the unmeasurable

                   Correlation vs. causation

                   Experiments and quasi-experiments

  • The rational-choice model of crime
  • The evidence on the economic model of crime: Probability of arrest

                   The effects of police presence

                   Racial discrimination in policing

                   Predictive policing

  • The evidence on the economic model of crime: Punishments

                   Deterrence and incapacitation effects of prison

                   Death penalty

                   Open prisons and electronic monitoring

  • The evidence on the economic model of crime: Legitimate income opportunities

                   Education

                   Labor market opportunities

  • Immigration and crime

                   Perceptions and reality

                   The effect of legal status on immigrants' propensity to commit crimes

  • Organized crime

                    Economic effects

                    Political effects

  • Corruption
  • Drug policy

                    Effects in destination countries: The opioid epidemics in the US

                    Effects in origin countries: Drug wars in Mexico

  • Miscellaneous topics

                    The "More guns, less crime" hypothesis

                    Abortion and crime


Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)
KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Understand research papers on crime-related issues.
  • Identify interesting research questions in the same field.
  • Develop and illustrate a research project.
APPLYING KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Intepret previous evidence on the causes and consequences of crime.
  • Evaluate the impact of anti-crime policies.
  • Develop research projects in this field.

Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Online lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Group assignments
DETAILS
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class) by policy makers and practitioners involved in anti-crime policies.
  • Group assignments: preparation and presentation of a research proposal.

Assessment methods
  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  •     x
  • Group assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  •     x
    ATTENDING STUDENTS

    The final grade is based on written final exam and group presentations. Groups consisting of 3-4 students would be formed at the beginning of the course. Each group:

    • Discuss a paper among those included in the reference list.
    • Present a research project proposal at the end of the course.

    The final grade is determined as the maximum between:

    • The grade obtained in the final written exam; the weighted average of the final written exam (50%), the grade in the paper discussion (10%), and the presentation of the group project (40%).
    • Using this rule, problem sets and group presentations provide an insurance against having a bad day on the exam day.
    NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS

    The final grade is based on a written exam testing the students' capability to interpret previous evidence on the causes and consequences of crime.

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