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A cure for crime? : psycho-pharmaceuticals and crime trends

Author: Dave E Marcotte; Sara Markowitz; National Bureau of Economic Research.
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : National Bureau of Economic Research, ©2009.
Series: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 15354.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
In this paper we consider possible links between the advent and diffusion of a number of new psychiatric pharmaceutical therapies and crime rates. We describe recent trends in crime and review the evidence showing mental illness as a clear risk factor both for criminal behavior and victimization. We then briefly summarize the development of a number of new pharmaceutical therapies for the treatment of mental illness  Read more...
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Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Dave E Marcotte; Sara Markowitz; National Bureau of Economic Research.
OCLC Number: 436988580
Notes: "September 2009."
Description: 1 online resource (41 pages) : illustrations, digital.
Series Title: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 15354.
Responsibility: Dave E. Marcotte, Sara Markowitz.

Abstract:

In this paper we consider possible links between the advent and diffusion of a number of new psychiatric pharmaceutical therapies and crime rates. We describe recent trends in crime and review the evidence showing mental illness as a clear risk factor both for criminal behavior and victimization. We then briefly summarize the development of a number of new pharmaceutical therapies for the treatment of mental illness which diffused during the "great American crime decline." We examine limited international data, as well as more detailed American data to assess the relationship between crime rates and rates of prescriptions of the main categories of psychotropic drugs, while controlling for other factors which may explain trends in crime rates. We find that increases in prescriptions for psychiatric drugs in general are associated with decreases in violent crime, with the largest impacts associated with new generation antidepressants and stimulants used to treat ADHD. Our estimates imply that about 12 percent of the recent crime drop was due to expanded mental health treatment.

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