Economics of crime : Analysis of trend, pattern and determinants of criminal behaviour in the districts of Assam

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Human society has been witnessing crimes since its inception. Rise in incidence of criminal behaviour has been a matter of grave concern resulting in debates and discourses amongst the experts from diverse fields. All pervasive criminal activities are likely to have a negative impact on economic environment thereby bringing in adverse results in economic growth, investment and other parameters of the market dynamics. Moreover, this results in social unrest, anarchy, and loss of faith in law and governance. In a situation of high crime rates, the quality of life of the citizen is adversely affected since there is a threat to personal life and property. That’s why criminality has been a cause of concern amongst the law abiding and peace loving citizens. Though crime simply defined relates to some harmful acts which violate individual’s body and the property and deny respect to people and institutions, there are wide divergences amongst the social scientists. However, common and widely accepted definition of crimes by most of the modern states refers to an act or omission that is defined by the validly passed laws of the nation state in which it occurred so that punishment should follow from the behaviour. Without the state and the criminal law there is no crime, and without criminal justice system sanctioned by law, there are no criminals. Analysis of factors responsible for criminals’ behaviour has been the subject matter of sociologists, criminologists and in recent times the economists. The recent entry by the economists using the understanding and logic of economics along with the utilisation of sophisticated tools of econometrics and statistics has attracted the attention of policy makers. Becker (1968) specified an economic model of crime, stating crime as any other economic activity based on rational choice so that the criminal would base his/her decision on a cost- benefit analysis and then decide to commit crime if the benefit is bigger than the cost.
Supervisor: S. Borbora