Deterrent Effects of Punishment on Crime Rates, 1959-1960 (ICPSR 7716)

Published: Feb 16, 1992

Principal Investigator(s):
Isaac Ehrlich

Version V2

The study contains cross-section data on the relationship between aggregate levels of punishment and crime rates. It examines deterrent effects of punishment on seven Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) index crimes: murder, rape, assault, larceny, robbery, burglary, and auto theft, committed in 1960 in 47 states of the United States (excluded were New Jersey, Alaska, and Hawaii). For each state, the data include variables for the reported crime rates for each of the seven index crimes. For each of the index crimes, there are two sanction variables included: the probability of prison commitment and the average time served by those sentenced (severity of punishment). There are 11 socioeconomic variables, including family income, income distribution, unemployment rate for urban males in the age groups 14-24 and 35-39, labor force participation rate, educational level, percentage of young males in population, percentage of non-white young males living in the population, percentage of population living in Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas, sex ratio, and place of occurrence. The data also include per capita police expenditures for 1959 and 1960. A related data collection is PARTICIPATION IN ILLEGITIMATE ACTIVITIES: EHRLICH REVISITED, 1960 (ICPSR 8677). It provides alternative model specifications and estimations.

Ehrlich, Isaac. Deterrent Effects of Punishment on Crime Rates, 1959-1960. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1992-02-16.

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1959 -- 1960

Alaska, Hawaii, and New Jersey were excluded from the data.

Crimes committed in 47 of the 50 United States in 1960.

state records of crime statistics, NATIONAL PRISONER STATISTICS bulletins of the Federal Bureau of Prisons

aggregate data



1984-03-18 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

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This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.