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Economics of Crime

Virginia Tech

What is the Economics of Crime?

This course provides an introduction to the study of crime and crime-control policies using standard economic techniques. Criminal behavior is considered the result of rational decisions made by individuals seeking to maximize their well-being within the constraints of society. Our course focuses on the incentives for individuals to commit crimes and how those incentives can be changed by public policy. Topics include the costs of crime to society, drug control, gun control, non-violent and violent crime, gang-related crimes, punishment, incarceration, and deterrence.

My Favorite Quotes

Nobel Prize Lecture

I was not sympathetic to the assumption that criminals had radically different motivations from everyone else. 

Predictably Irrational

Individuals are honest only to the extent that suits them (including their desire to please others).


[Morality] represents the way that people would like the world to work, whereas economics represents how it actually does work.


Meet Your Instructor

My name is Jadrian Wooten and I'll be your instructor this semester a special studies course (ECON 4984) focused on the Economics of Crime. I have taught this course multiple times over the past few years and it is one of my favorite elective courses to teach. We will use economics to look at "big picture" issues that economics can help solve, but we'll also develop applicable skills that you can take to your future employer. Feel free to stop by during office hours if you ever have any questions about the course or economics in general.


You're welcome to connect with me on any social media platform you're comfortable with, but you aren't obligated to.

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Course Material

This course has been designed to be cost-effective by using educational licenses and relying on popular press books instead of a traditional textbook. The first row of material is required for the course while the second row is recommended. The first two books are available at the campus bookstore or on Amazon for under $15 each. Packback, iClicker, and Tableau are online platforms that you'll complete assignments on throughout the semester., and access can be purchased online.

The final row includes items that are not required, but highly recommended to enhance your learning experience this semester. They are listed in order of what I believe is the most important thing to purchase.

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