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« 8 Home Runs from Jane Galt | Main | Micro-sexonomics »

Comments

JohnM

I think you have to factor in the fact that in the immediate aftermath of the storm, there was an enormous amount of looting.

The result may be that those with a propensity to steal are momentarily sated. Of course such a theory pre-supposes that such people are basically opportunists, who can only think in the short term. However, I doubt anyone would ever characterise a criminal like that!

lth

To me this seems to be an idea that goes hand-in-hand with the 'root causes' theory - it seems entirely reasonable to me that the root causes define p, that's all.

David Tufte

REPLY TO JohnM:

I also think this is a property vs. violent crime distinction. I don't think most murders are committed by people who can or need to be sated by their acts.

I could be wrong, but if this argument worked, we'd either have a bunch of potential murderers that really need to go whack someone to get their fix, or else we should have seen a lot of extra murders immediately after Katrina that sated that desire (but we didn't).

David Tufte

REPLY TO lth:

Yes, this is a weakness of my argument.

But ... what you're really saying is that p should go down because of the population losss (my point), and up because of the worsening of conditions (your point).

If that is the case the total number of crimes should drop, but the crime rate should be higher. We've seen both of them drop, which suggests that the addition of this argument doesn't advance our understanding.

Economists like to say that putting math on ideas makes it easier to see what is important, and I think that's what happened in this case.

blindb

I think you have to factor in the fact that in the immediate aftermath of the storm, there was an enormous amount of looting.
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Dave

My understanding is that it has been pretty much concluded that there wasn't that much looting - certainly there was a whole lot of food that could've been looted if the folks in the Superdome and Convention Center were more on the ball.

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