Criminal Law and Economics applies economic theory to explain crime, law enforcement, criminal law and criminal procedure.
Potential criminals are economically rational. They compare the gain from committing a crime with the expected cost, including the risk of punishment, the possibility of social stigma, and eventual psychological costs. A criminal is an individual for whom the gain from committing a crime more than compensates the expected cost. . . . Overall, it seems crime rates are responsive to changes in punishment.
The advantage of an economic approach to crime is that it avoids interpersonal assessments and is more of a neutral analysis.”
Nuno Garoupa, Introduction to Criminal Law and Economics, at vii, viii (2d ed. 2009).