The Reasoning Criminal: Rational Choice Perspectives on Offending

The assumption that rewards and punishments influence our choices between different courses of action underlies economic, sociological, psychological, and legal thinking about human action. Hence, the notion of a reasoning criminal―one who employs the same sorts of cognitive strategies when contemplating offending as they and the rest of us use when making other decisions―might seem a small contribution to crime control. This conclusion would be mistaken. This volume develops an alternative approach, termed the "rational choice perspective," to explain criminal behaviour. Instead of emphasizing the differences between criminals and non-criminals, it stresses some of the similarities. In particular, while the contributors do not deny the existence of irrational and pathological components in crimes, they suggest that the rational aspects of offending should be explored.

Book contents:

  1. Introduction

  2. Shoplifter's perceptions of crime opportunities: a process-tracing study

  3. Victim selection procedures among economic criminals: the rational choice perspective

  4. Robbers as decision-makers

  5. The decision to give up crime

  6. A decision-making approach to opioid addiction

  7. On the compatibility of rational choice and social control theories of crime

  8. Linking criminal choices, routine activities, informal control and criminal outcomes

  9. Models of decision making under uncertainty: the criminal choice

  10. The theory of reasoned action: a decision theory of crime

  11. The decision to commit a crime: an information-processing analysis

  12. Offense specialization: does it exist?

  13. Criminal incapacitation effects considered in an adaptive choice framework

  14. Practical reasoning and criminal responsibility: a jurisprudential approach