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Economics of Crime

Penn State University

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 as the result of rational decisions made by individuals seeking to maximize their well-being within the constraints of society. The focus is on 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, it could be argued, represents the way that people would like the world to work, wheareas economics represents how it actually does work.

Meet The Team


Dr. Jadrian Wooten

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I'll be your instructor this semester. Feel free to visit me with any questions you have about the course or your grade in the course. 

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Han Xu

The TA will be responsible for managing reading quiz grades and peer review scores on projects.

Course Material

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