[EconTalk] Jennifer Doleac on Crime

Jennifer Doleac on Crime

21/01/2019 by EconTalk: Russ Roberts

Web player: http://podplayer.net/?id=62248347
Episode: http://files.libertyfund.org/econtalk/y2019/Doleaccrime.mp3

Economist Jennifer Doleac of Texas A&M University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her research on crime, police, and the unexpected consequences of the criminal justice system. Topics discussed include legislation banning asking job applicants if they’ve been in prison, body cameras for police, the use of DNA databases, the use of Naloxone to prevent death from opioid overdose, and the challenges of being an economist who thinks about crime using the economist’s toolkit.

Listen Date: 2019-03-19


  • Somehow, though there was a lot of new information here, very little of it caught my imagination
  • One interesting bit there was about how she pushed back against the idea from an earlier EconTalk episode about how sentencing algorithms reinforce existing biases; by saying that the alternative is no less biased; and that we should see this as a marginal improvement and one that can be corrected (I may have lost something in either memory or summarising)
  • Similar in its don’t panic tone was “Look, the loss of privacy in genetic databases is concerning but not an emergency in terms of what it can allow beyond identification.”
  • The middle of the episode is lots of examples of tradeoffs and unintended consequences – nothing very special; but good reinforcement.

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