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Deterrent Effects of Punishment on Crime Rates, 1959-1960

Resource Type
Dataset : aggregate data
  • Ehrlich, Isaac
Other Title
  • Archival Version (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Free Keywords
assault; auto theft; burglary; crime; crime prevention; crime rates; crime statistics; criminal justice policy; deterrence; imprisonment; larceny; murder; property crime statistics; rape; recidivism; recidivism rates; robbery; sentencing; socioeconomic status; violent crime statistics; violent crimes
  • Abstract

    The study contains cross-section data on the relationship between aggregate levels of punishment and crime rates. It examines deterrent effects of punishment on seven Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) index crimes: murder, rape, assault, larceny, robbery, burglary, and auto theft, committed in 1960 in 47 states of the United States (excluded were New Jersey, Alaska, and Hawaii). For each state, the data include variables for the reported crime rates for each of the seven index crimes. For each of the index crimes, there are two sanction variables included: the probability of prison commitment and the average time served by those sentenced (severity of punishment). There are 11 socioeconomic variables, including family income, income distribution, unemployment rate for urban males in the age groups 14-24 and 35-39, labor force participation rate, educational level, percentage of young males in population, percentage of non-white young males living in the population, percentage of population living in Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas, sex ratio, and place of occurrence. The data also include per capita police expenditures for 1959 and 1960. A related data collection is PARTICIPATION IN ILLEGITIMATE ACTIVITIES: EHRLICH REVISITED, 1960 (ICPSR 8677). It provides alternative model specifications and estimations.
  • Methods

    ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection: Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes..
  • Table of Contents


    • DS1: Dataset
Temporal Coverage
  • 1959 / 1960
    Time period: 1959--1960
Geographic Coverage
  • United States
Sampled Universe
Crimes committed in 47 of the 50 United States in 1960.
Alaska, Hawaii, and New Jersey were excluded from the data.
This version of the study is no longer available on the web. If you need to acquire this version of the data, you have to contact ICPSR User Support (
Alternative Identifiers
  • 7716 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR07716.v1
  • Vandaele, Walter. Participation in Illegitimate Activities: Ehrlich Revisited. Deterrence and Incapacitation: Estimating the Effects of Criminal Sanctions on Crime Rates.Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences. 1978.
  • Ehrlich, Isaac. Capital punishment and deterrence: Some further thoughts and additional evidence. Journal of Political Economy.85, (4), 741-788.1977.
  • Ehrlich, Isaac. Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation. Journal of Political Economy.521-565.1973.
    • ID: 10.1086/260058 (DOI)
  • Ehrlich, Isaac. Participation in Illegitimate Activities: An Economic Analysis. Dissertation, Columbia University. 1970.

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 8 | Registration Date: 2015-06-15

Ehrlich, Isaac (1984): Deterrent Effects of Punishment on Crime Rates, 1959-1960. Archival Version. Version: v0. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.