Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Crime, punishment ,rugby

A key issue in modeling crime is whether imprisonment works in reducing crime and, if so, is it through the incarceration effect (they are banged up so can't commit further crimes) or through deterrence (they are put off crime post-imprisonment) ? The distinction is important because prisons are very expensive in general (& certainly in Ireland). Separating the two effects empirically is tricky.
A similar issue arises presumably with punishing misbehaviour in sport. Does red-carding someone work and, if so, how? Looking at the organized violence called rugby suggests that if there is an effect it is incarceration. If you gouge someone's eyes during a Lions match, a rational person must realize there is a strong chance of being caught. Likewise, Eric Cantona's assault on a fan looked pretty impulsive.

I havn't been able to find much research but this looks relevant:

"Crime, Punishment, and Recidivism Lessons From the National Hockey League"
W. David Allen
Among the fundamental elements of the sport of ice hockey are the on-ice rules violations occasionally committed by players and the penalties assessed for those violations. During the 1998-99 season, the National Hockey League (NHL) for the first time experimented with the deployment of two on-ice referees for a selection of games instead of the customary single referee, significant in that only referees have the authority to call penalties. In this article, that experimental 1998-99 season provides the empirical setting for a test of the economic model of crime, which suggests that economic agents allocate time to legal and illegal activity by considering the benefits and costs of these activities. Here, those economic agents are NHL players. Empirically, relatively nonviolent illegal activity appears significantly influenced by benefits and costs, but particularly violent acts appear to occur more randomly. Particularly violent penalties increase when a second referee is deployed, suggesting a dominant "apprehension effect" rather than a dominant "deterrence effect" of what amounts to an increase in the presence of police.
Journal of Sports Economics, Vol. 3, No. 1, 39-60 (2002)


Mark McG said...

Some people never learn though. It's the Munster jersey.

Kevin Denny said...

At least Cantona did it with a certain amount of panache.Not that I approve of that kind of thing.