Assorted links

1. Market-based management blog

2. The prospect of prison doesn’t seem to deter crime

3. How to improve drug policy, by Mark Kleiman

4. Suggestions for French economic policy

Comments

The article on prisons is interesting. The new papers suggest it is actual incapacitation and not so much the incentive to deter that prevents crime. These studies have interesting and timely implications because the UK prison system is full, and judges are being asked to consider this 'no vacancy' problem when dishing out sentences to criminals. At first, I thought this increased leniency would reduce the price of crime and that petty crime would increase as a result. It is reassuring then, that criminals may not respond to this incentive of potentially reduced sentences. Nevertheless, if the studies are correct, then reduced incapacitation would still produce more crime at the end of the day, even if the skewed incentives (from increased leniency) don't play a role.

I also found the prison article interesting, but I'm not sure I agree with applying the conlcusions from a small sample of the criminal population (17-19-year-olds)to the population as a whole. This runs into the age-old problem in economics that people are not always rational decision makers. Anecdotally, any parent will tell you that teenagers tend not to be rational decision makers. I suspect that any police officer will tell you that criminals are not particularly rational decision makers, either. Teenage criminals? You might be better off assuming complete irrationality until they reach at least their twenties. That said, I tend to think that consequences follow decisions in a fairly rational way in nature (you don't plant food, you starve), as well as in markets (you make bad investments, you lose your shirt), and I'd personally sleep better at night having warned delinquents that if they continue to break they law they may end up incarcerated, rather than just telling them that kharma will come back to them someday.

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Although autism has likely been a recurring genetic disorder for a long, long
time, it wasn't described in any medical literature until Dr. Leo Kanner
noticed a pattern in 8 children brought to Johns Hopkins in 1943. His
observations describe a pattern of symptoms that, once seen, are impossible
not to see in the general population. But prior to him, the same individuals
were misclassified as schizophrenic, delusional, or harboring Freudian
self-hatred. The paradigm you use to look for patterns has a lot to do with whether you find them - this
cuts both ways and actually underscores why repressed memories are bogus- the paradigm supporting them
is not scientifically tenable. It also explains why no one explicitly described theories of

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