Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is a Senior Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution. He specializes in the application of game theory to problems involving conflict resolution, especially at the international level. His most recent books are War and Reason (with David Lalman) and European Community Decision Making (with Frans Stokman), both published by Yale University Press.
SELF-INTEREST, EQUITY, AND CRIME CONTROL: A GAME-THEORETIC ANALYSIS OF CRIMINAL DECISION MAKING
Article first published online: 7 MAR 2006
Volume 33, Issue 4, pages 483–518, November 1995
How to Cite
DE MESQUITA, B. B. and COHEN, L. E. (1995), SELF-INTEREST, EQUITY, AND CRIME CONTROL: A GAME-THEORETIC ANALYSIS OF CRIMINAL DECISION MAKING. Criminology, 33: 483–518. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.1995.tb01187.x
Lawrence E. Cohen is Professor of Sociology at the University of California at Davis. His current research pertains to the application of evolutionary game-theoretic models in criminology.
- Issue published online: 7 MAR 2006
- Article first published online: 7 MAR 2006
Employing the analytic technique of game theory, we attempt to answer questions about how individuals with different proclivities to use crime to accomplish ends, and different beliefs about society's fairness, are likely to respond to different incentives and disincentives that are derived from strain and neoclassical deterrence theories. Our analysis indicates that the crime control policies typically recommended by adherents of both theories are often logically invalid, given the premises upon which they are supposedly based. For example, our analysis suggests why punishment strategies like “three strikes and you're out” and “entitlement strategies” such as welfare and other short-term redistributive payment programs fail to deter crime. Finally, after including notions of equity with traditional rational choice assumptions, our analysis identifies a mix of theoretically derived strategies that may more effectively deter crime.