The Optimism Bias of the Behavioral Analysis of Crime Control

This Article presents a critical review of the behavioral analysis of crime control. It shows that although behavioral studies have offered many insights as to the way humans behave, they do not offer clear predictions as to the way criminals are expected to behave. The indeterminacy of behavioral analysis stems from three distinct factors. First, the cognitive biases upon which behavioral analysis is built are often ill-defined. Second, for many cognitive biases, there exist “counter biases” that function in an opposing manner. Finally, social forces, such as norms and culture, interact in an unpredictable fash-ion with cognitive biases. In light of these problems, the Article suggests a new research agenda for scholars who wish to develop an accurate model of criminal behavior.

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