Practice Questions for Final Exam
Economics of Crime Spring 2000
For the final exam 8 questions will be drawn randomly from the list below. You should then choose 7 of those 8 to answer. Please explain your answers thoroughly. Some of the questions come from the list of practice questions you studied prior to the midterm, that were not asked on the midterm.
Earlier questions from first practice exam not asked on the midterm:
1. a) What's the difference between UCR and NCVS? b) Why might you choose to use one over the other? c) What are some of the major reasons that crime rates based on one of these measures might change?
2. What is Jeffrey Reiman's "Pyrrhic defeat theory" regarding our criminal justice system?
3. (was 6.) a) How does Isaac Ehrlich hypothesize education and crime are related? b) Do the 3 types of evidence examined support this hypothesis?
4. (was 9.) What evidence does Reiman provide to support his argument that the criminal justice system is economically biased?
5. (was 10.) Hellman and Alper give a critique of a cost-benefit analysis of a pretrial intervention program in Dade County. Keeping their comments in mind what are some of the kinds of information you would want to gather to do a cost-benefit analysis of San Francisco's remedial instruction program for customers of prostitution?
6. (was 11.) How would you allocate a given resource pie to deal with a particular type of crime such as homicide, domestic violence or embezzlement? Consider the costs and benefits to individuals or society. Consider long term or short term. Consider potential unintended consequences of your resource allocation strategy.
7. In Elite Deviance David Simon discusses several categories of areas where he feels white collar activities have lead to substantial harm to society. Pick two of these areas and discuss his concerns.
8. a) Describe the supply and demand model of the market for stolen goods discussed by Hellman and Alper. b) What kinds of factors or policies might shift demand? c) What kinds of factors or policies might shift supply?
9. a) What do Hellman and Alper mean by distinguishing the markets for "rational" versus "irrational" murder? b) What kinds of policies could reduce "rational" murders? c) What kinds of policies could reduce "irrational" murders?
10. Consider the "victimless" crime of illegal gambling. Imagine that you are in the cafeteria talking about this with two of your best friends. Your friend Theosophilus says "making gambling illegal is stupid. It's MY choice if I want to gamble, and it's legal in Nevada and at Indian casinos anyway. I mean, even the state of California runs a lottery! What a waste of resources to go after this victimless crime." Your friend Serafina says "but we have to realize the costs to society and individuals when people who are addicted to gambling throw their paychecks away. All that energy that goes into the people who run illegal gambling and the people who engage in illegal gambling could be better spent some other way. And think of how illegal gambling helps finance organized crime like the Mafia." What's your opinion? Do you agree with Theosophilus, or Serafina (or neither)? (1) Describe your opinion and the reasoning you use to support it. (2) Discuss how you would respond to potential criticisms of your opinion.
11. Briefly discus some of the potential strategies for dealing with organized crime.
12. Suppose you and a friend of yours are on opposite sides in a debate looking at corporate crime. Your friend says "I think corporate crimes are small potatoes. Corporate crimes aren't violent, and probably don't hurt that many people financially either except a few stockholders. I don't want to have the government waste my tax dollars investigating, prosecuting, and penalizing corporate crimes when there are lots of street crimes like robbery, burglary, assault etc." Taking into consideration your Simon chapter, other readings, and class discussions, what would you say to your friend in reply? (1) Consider the relative costs and benefits of using legal system resources to attack corporate crime, taking into consideration the scope of victims potentially affected by corporate crimes, the nature of the impact on victims (e.g., physical, psychic, financial).
13. Consider the following public policy options intended to help deter/detect drug use by minors: (a) Use of drug-sniffing dogs who come to high schools at unannounced times to sniff all students' lockers for drugs. (Note: the dogs do not sniff any students, just their lockers). (b) Random urine tests for high school athletes. Students are informed before being accepted to participate in school sports events that submitting to the random testing and successfully passing the tests are required of all students in order to compete in school athletic events. Discuss whether you would support one of these drug-prevention/detection strategies, or whether you would not support either option. Discuss in detail why you would or would not support these options, taking into consideration all potential costs, benefits, and externalities you consider relevant.
14. Imagine a room with Neil Alper, Daryl Hellman, and Jeffrey Reiman in it. Suppose they are trying to decide how to allocate a $500 million dollar budget the President has authorized specifically to be used to "fight crime." How do you think these three would divide this large but finite "resource pie"? Remember, first they would have to agree on what "crime" is, and then they would have to agree on a strategy to employ the budget to "fight" crime. For example, does "fighting crime" mean focusing on prevention? Detection? Both? Does it mean focusing on white collar and corporate crimes, "street" crimes, "victimless" crimes, or all three?