Economic Freedom and Recidivism: Evidence from US States

  • Joshua HallEmail author
  • Kaitlyn Harger
  • Dean Stansel


This paper provides an exploratory analysis into factors contributing to differences across states in recidivism rates. We provide the first such examination that incorporates differences in economic freedom. Using a panel data set from 1998 to 2010, we find that higher levels of economic freedom within a state are associated with lower recidivism rates within that state. A one percent increase in state economic freedom is associated with a 0.47 % decrease in parolee recidivism. The relationship is stronger and more statistically significant for labor market freedom, with a one percent increase in labor market freedom being associated with a 0.67 % decline in recidivism.


Recidivism Institutions Prison Parole 

JEL Classification

D02 K14 K42 Z13 



The authors would like to thank James Barth, Richard Cebula, and David Sorenson for their helpful comments at the 2014 meetings of the International Atlantic Economic Society in Savannah, GA.


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Copyright information

© International Atlantic Economic Society 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Business and EconomicsWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA
  2. 2.Lutgert College of BusinessFlorida Gulf Coast UniversityFort MyersUSA

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