Institutional Determinants of Crime in Poland
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Publish date: 2012-10-31
Gospodarka Narodowa 2012;259(10):97–126
The article articulates the need for empirical studies of crime using economic research methods. The author aims to encourage Polish economists to look at crime as a potential research topic, in line with a global trend. The article focuses on the key aspects of the economic theory of crime. Under this theory, the institutional determinants of crime, including the law enforcement system, play not only an essentially passive, accommodative function but also an active, preventive function. The latter function is directly linked with the so-called deterrence theory, which highlights issues related to the functioning of the law enforcement system because each component of this system generates a different aspect of the overall deterrence effect. The article discusses the reasons why crime should be the subject of economic research. These include the economic theory of crime and the deterrence theory as well as the social costs of crime and the functioning of the law enforcement system. The author also takes a position on the possibility of conducting empirical research using crime data. Referring to the existing data, he analyzes selected aspects of the functioning of the Polish law enforcement system, with a special emphasis on the prison system. The findings of the article could be useful for all those interested in the practical aspects of measuring and modeling crime by using economic analysis, the author says.