William Spelman Article Summary

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This article, written by William Spelman, focuses on the controversial relationship between prison populations and crime rates. Spelman demonstrates the controversy by referencing studies that yielded a wide array of results ranging from rising prison populations causing a decrease in crime to having no effect at all, and even a study that showed crime increasing as prison populations did. Spelman states that this controversy has long been present when discussing this issue. He expresses concern with the divergent findings due to the fact that they are largely all based on the same data set. This, Spelman believes, is largely due to the fact that the varying studies used different methods in conducting their research. For this reason, Spelman seeks to test the remaining methods in order to determine the most appropriate specification for the crime equation. The crime rate data Spelman uses is the data set originally constructed by Marvell and Moody in 1994 (Spelman, 2008, p. 153). The data set is quantitative in nature and consists of violent crimes which include homicide, forcible rape, …show more content…

172). Spelman explains that the innate relationship between crime rates and prison populations, at the state level, does not appear to indicate any long-run equilibrium, but rather short-term effects (Spelman, 2008, p. 172). Spelman then explains the relationship between crime rates and prison population that is determined using the differenced variable specification. As expected by Spelman, an increase in prison populations are, for the most part, associated with a decrease in crime rates (Spelman, 2008, p. 172). Additionally, the research shows that an increase in crime results in an increase in prison populations (Spelman, 2008, p.

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