Ethics and morals important determinants of crime too

... as well as deterrence and demography, say IEA authors

Crime has fallen over the last ten years because of economic factors, a sustained fall in the proportion of young males in the population and because of the deterrence effect of increased prison sentences, claim Crime Economists Derek Deadman and Ziggy MacDonald of the University of Leicester, writing in Economic Affairs, the journal of the Institute of Economic Affairs.

The September issue' main theme is crime and authors Deadman and MacDonald use economic models to substantiate their conclusions. However, looking at the data in more detail it is found that the impact of harsh punishment is more important for some crimes, such as crimes of violence, than for others, such as theft.

The authors also find that the ethical outlook of the potential criminal is a very important factor in determining the likelihood of offending. Peter Wynarczyk, from the University of Northumbria, corroborates this, arguing that changes in individuals'ethical and moral perspectives are crucial in explaining the rise in crime in the modern age.

Dorothy Manning also, from the University of Northumbria, suggests that even terrorists can behave in a rational manner when considering whether to commit crime. Furthermore, the potential costs of religious terrorism can be huge, particularly if there is a real danger of them using weapons of mass destruction. The economic model of crime suggests that it would be appropriate to expand considerable resources deterring and detecting such forms of terrorism.

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