We gauge the cost of crime in Italy by concentrating on a subset of offences covering about 64% of total recorded crimes in the year 2006. Following the breakdown of costs put forward by Brand and Price, we focus on the costs in anticipation, as a consequence, and in response to a specific offence. The estimated total social cost is more than C38 billion, which amounts to about 2.6% of Italy’s GDP. To show the usefulness of these measures, we borrow the elasticity estimates from recent studies concerning the determinants of crime in Italy and calculate the cost associated with the surge in crime fuelled by unemployment and pardons. Indeed, in both cases such costs are substantial, implying that they should no longer be skipped when assessing the relative desirability of public policies towards crime.
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