May, 2009

Measuring Criminal Spillovers: Evidence from Three Strikes

  • Alexander Tabarrok

    Bartley J. Madden Chair in Economics, Mercatus Center at George Mason University
  • Eric Helland

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California’s Attorney General was pleased to announce that “An unintended but positive consequence of ‘Three-Strikes’ has been the impact on parolees leaving the state….The growth in the number of parolees leaving California is staggering.” Law enforcement officers in other states were presumably less pleased. A displaced criminal is a benefit to California but a cost to other states. If such criminal spillovers are important, law enforcement will over-invest in policies that encourage displacement. We test whether California’s three-strikes law led to significant criminal spillovers.

Find the article at de Gruyter.