The economics of crime

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims at introducing students to the analysis of crime economics.
The first part of the course introduces the necessary methodological tools to understand research in economics. Specifically, we will learn about some basic statistical and econometrical tools, which are commonly used in crime economics.
In the next classes, we will focus on topics related to crime and we will understand how economists can help policymakers to tackle crime.
We will adopt an economic approach to investigate research questions, like: can we estimate the deterrence effect? Do peer-effects matter for criminals? Which is the best sanction upon a cost-benefit perspective? Are fines more effective than other sanctions? Does police presence decrease crime? Is there a link between migration and crime? Which are the best policies to fight corruption? Which are the effects of mafia on society?
Expected learning outcomes
1. Understanding of basic statistical tools used in crime economics
2. Excellent learning of the research topics discussed during the course
3. Ability to critically evaluate scientific methodologies adopted in crime economics
4. Ability to independently learn about scientific topics related to crime economics
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Teaching methods

Lectures will take place on Microsoft Teams according to the regular timetable available on the Unimi website. Lectures will be held in synchronous (live) mode.
All information to join the course channel of Microsoft Teams are available on the Arial webpage of the course.
The recorded video will remain available on Ariel platform until the end of the academic year.

Syllabus and Teaching resources

The syllabus and the teaching materials are unchanged.

Assessment methods and Criteria

Assessment methods and Criteria will undergo no variations.

NOTE: students attendance is compulsory (at least 90%) and it will be recorded at the beginning of each class.
Course syllabus
Outline: the first part of the course is based on a purely methodological introduction to statistics in the economics. Subsequent lessons will address specific crime economics issues, as listed below. The last meetings include students' presentations.
Introduction: Economics of Crime
Lesson 1: Methods: Basics of statistics
Lesson 2: Methods: Regression Analysis
Lesson 3: Becker Model
Lesson 4: Deterrence and incapacitation
Lesson 5: Detention and electronic monitoring
Lesson 6: Alternative punishments to prison
Lesson 7: Police and crime
Lesson 8: Racial Discrimination
Lesson 9: The opportunity cost
Lesson 10: Immigration and crime
Lesson 11: Corruption
Lesson 12: Corruption and political incentives
Lesson 13: Organized crime
Lesson 14: The drug cartels
Subsequent lessons: Students' presentations
Prerequisites for admission
- The course is in Italian. However, the course is based on scientific studies published in English. Therefore, students should be ready to face a widespread use of English terminology. A good English knowledge would facilitate the attendance to the course.
- This is a quantitative course. However, it is not necessary any specific statistical/math knowledge to attend the course. Conversely, it is important to be motivated to new work approaches related to study of economics.
Teaching methods
- In each class, I will strongly encourage students' engagement. Classes will include interactive content like online quiz, video, etc.
- External Speaker: this year the invited speaker is Prof. Francesco Calderoni, associate professor of criminology at Cattolica University and coordinator of Transcrime, a research center specialized in applied research on crime.
- Presentations: as described in the "Evaluation" section, the course includes students' presentations.
Teaching Resources
Compulsory: classes slides and scientific papers which will provided in pdf format at the end every class.

Not-compulsory: The Economics of Crime: An Introduction to Rational Crime Analysis 2nd Edition, by Harold Winter (available at the departmental library)
Assessment methods and Criteria
NOTE: students attendance is compulsory (at least 90%) and it will be recorded at the beginning of each class.


For students attending classes, the evaluation is based on three indicators:

25%: assigned based on the percentage of attended classes and the relative level of engagement during each class. At the beginning of each class, I will register attendance.

35%: assigned based on students' group presentations. The presentation will be about a topic related to the course to be chosen out of a list. The length of the presentation and the number of students in each group will depend upon the course attendance. The evaluation of the presentation will be based on: i) clarity of the presentation and of the slides; ability to link the content of the presentation to the topics of the course; originality and critical approach to the topic. The presentations will take place during the last classes of the course.

The remaining 40% will be assigned based on a written exam (1h) which will include both multiple choice and open questions.

For students not-attenting classes, the evaluation is entirely based on the final exam.
SECS-P/03 - PUBLIC ECONOMICS - University credits: 6
Lessons: 42 hours
Professor: Daniele Gianmarco