Date of Award

5-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

Economics

Advisor

Bodenhorn, Howard

Committee Member

Wood , Daniel

Committee Member

Tollison , Robert

Abstract

In the early 1990s many states adopted some form of sentence enhancement law for repeat offenders. A three-strike law in many states, most notably California's, was a common form of these laws. Using a difference-in-difference methodology, this thesis demonstrates that sentence enhancement laws reduce property crime rates by 10 percent or more. A basic cost-benefit analysis, however, leaves open the question of whether social welfare is enhanced by sentence enhancements.

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