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The Economics of Crime by Zagros Madjd-Sadjadi

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CHAPTER 5

“Victimless Crimes”

Why do we have laws against certain activities? That answer may seem obvious, but it isn’t. To understand why, we first identify the three main categories of crime:

1.Crimes against society (also called “victimless” crimes)

2.Crimes against property

3.Crimes against persons (also called “violent” crime)

Each entails certain costs to society and others but the nature of these costs differs across types. Crimes against persons, including rape, murder, assault, and various gradations of each, impose a cost to the individual harmed but also to society through the loss of future productivity. If someone is murdered, they will not be able to work again; this reduces the flow of goods and services, both market and non-market, ...

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