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Individual Decision-Making to Commit a Crime: A Survey of Early Models

By Roman Horváth and Eva Kolomazníková

Abstract

The authors provide a survey of the most important findings of the early models of the economics of crime, namely the models of Becker, Ehrlich and Heineke. These models study rational individual decision-making about entering into illegal activities. Probability and size of punishment, attitudes towards risk, gains from crime and income are the main variables influencing the results of individual behavior. The authors also discuss weaknesses of these models such as their static nature or the absence of interactive decision-making. The relationship to the theory of optimal law enforcement is also presented.economics of crime; individual decision-making; rationality; rent seeking

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