Criminology and Economic Theory
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Criminology and Economic Theory
In search of viable criminological theory
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Why the Problem with Learning Is Unlearning

The process of unlearning has three parts.

First, you have to recognize that the old mental model is no longer relevant or effective. This is a challenge because we are usually unconscious of our mental models. They are the proverbial water to the fish. In addition, we might be afraid to admit that the existing model is growing outdated. We have built our reputations and careers on the mastery of these old models. Letting go can seem like starting over and losing our status, authority, or sense of self.
Second, you need to find or create a new model that can better achieve your goals. At first, you will probably see this new model through the lens of the old. Many companies are ineffective in their use of social media because they still think of it as a channel for distributing a message. They haven’t made the mental shift from one-to-many to many-to-many. Social is best thought of as a context rather than a channel.
Third, you need to ingrain the new mental habits. This process is no different from creating a new behavioral habit, like your diet or golf swing. The tendency will be to fall back into the old way of thinking and therefore the old way of doing. It’s useful to create triggers that alert you to which model you are working from. For example, when you are talking about your customers, catch yourself when you call them “consumers” — this corresponds to a transactional mindset. Find a word that reflects a more collaborative relationship. The shift in language helps to reinforce the shift in mindset.
The good news is that practicing unlearning will make it easier and quicker to make the shifts as your brain adapts. (It’s a process called neuroplasticity.) You can see this process at work in an experiment by Destin Sandler and his “backwards bicycle.” Toward the end of the video you can see the unlearning process at work. One thing to look for is how the process itself is exponential. One moment he can’t ride the bike, and then the next moment he can. So as you begin unlearning, be patient with yourself — it’s not a linear process. Albert Einstein once said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” In this time of transformative change, we need to be conscious of our mental models and ambidextrous in our thinking. Sometimes the incremental models of barriers to entry, linear campaigns, and hierarchical controls will be the right ones. But we need to unlearn these models and replace them with exponential models based on network effects, brand orbits, and distributed networks. The place to start is by unlearning how we think about learning.
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Ikea Is A Nonprofit, And Yes, That's Every Bit As Fishy As It Sounds

Ikea makes billions tax-free by operating the world's largest "charity." Here's how.
Rob Duke's insight:
Ikea is one of the best examples of institutions at work.  You'd think this is a furniture company, but no, it's a non-profit that is tax exempt, in part, because of its mission to promote art throughout the world.

Yes, really.  The family that owns IKEA created several such businesses to manage its trust assets (IKEA just happens to be the household name).

When I was a kid, I went to junior high and secondary school where you could work part-time.  I worked as a cabinet maker during some of this time.  At that time in America, there was a thriving furniture industry and you could purchase furniture secure in the knowledge that you'd pass it along to your children and grandchildren someday.  This is hardly the case now.  Due to tax law, IKEA has changed the way most of us buy furniture.  Flat boxes delivered by Fed Ex with infuriating instructions and a planned obsolescence measured in years not decades.  How pervasive is it?  Well, see the next article: IKEA alone accounts for 1% of all wood harvested in the world.

Ron Coase showed us that the ownership of institution rights didn't "matter" because the market always found the most efficient outcome given those institutional arrangements.  The Coase theorem, however, is about efficiency given certain institutions.  It is not about overall efficiency, effectiveness, or economy....nor is it about equity.

Kenneth Arrow also showed that in game theory (which is just a fancy way of describing how we all interact with society, culture, economics, and politics--which is, at its most basic level just a complicated game) where one began often dictated where one ended.  Thus, if two binary choices are given such as: do you prefer A or B.  We might choose B, but later if asked if we like B or C, we choose C.  The implication is that we prefer C over A, but that's just not true.  Consider the 2016 Presidential election.  How many of you voted for Hillary over Bernie?  Then, the choice becomes Hillary or Trump.  I wonder how many voters from the primary would have voted for Bernie if the choice had been Bernie or Trump in November?  So, the Arrow Theorem suggests that the order of institutional arrangements also matters.

The take away is be very careful with institutions and be very suspicious when someone claims "that's just the way it is".  You can have any institution you want and in any order you want, but you may (or may not) like the result.

In the study of criminology and ethics, institutions is one of the foundational issues that helps us understand everything that comes after.
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Gun Deaths In America

Gun Deaths In America | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
The data in this interactive graphic comes primarily from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Multiple Cause of Death database, which is derived from death certificates from all 50 states and the District of Columbia and is widely considered the most comprehensive estimate of firearm deaths.
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Cynthia Hoffer's comment, January 19, 11:26 AM
For me personally I hate guns and will never own one since you never know when there might be an accident. If someone is out to get you they are going to get you somehow and most likely going to get you no matter what. Very sad to read the number of deaths from a gun. I wonder if there was a gun law if that number would go down each year?
Brennan D Watson's comment, January 19, 11:54 PM
I personally feel like with proper gun safety and storage you can greatly reduce the likelihood of an accident. The main point that I took away from this graphic to was that suicide is the main source of gun fatalities. For me this shows that we need a better mental health system and support options.
Brad Gluckman's comment, January 23, 7:29 AM
This article was worth reading. The title is eye catching and the graphic interactive data was is well organized and thought provoking. The 12 page chart shows how statistics can be skewed or misused for attention grabbing media headlines. Insight fear in the public. gemeinschaftsgefuhl.
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State sues to overturn federal restrictions on controversial hunting methods

Among the banned activities on national preserves or wildlife refuges: Taking wolves and coyotes during the animals' denning season; taking black bears with artificial light at den sites.
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Pasco, USF seek statewide forensics research lab

Pasco, USF seek statewide forensics research lab | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Pasco County is seeking to become home to a proposed statewide forensic anthropology research and training center.

The center, if legislators and Gov. Rick Scott agree to the $4.3 million price tag, would be built on 4 acres of county-owned land in Land O'Lakes near the Pasco County Detention Center and become the seventh such facility in the country.

The project is a proposed partnership among Pasco County, the Pasco Sheriff's Office, the University of South Florida and Pasco-Hernando State College. It calls for indoor and outdoor facilities, including research and service labs, classrooms, a morgue and evidence storage to serve the Florida Institute of Forensic Anthropology & Applied Sciences research center at USF, which started in 2014 and already serves law enforcement and medical examiners around Florida.

If approved, the center would be a working crime lab and also provide specialized hands-on training for professionals dealing with investigations into homicides, human trafficking and other violent crimes. USF's website characterizes the project as allowing law officers to work alongside researchers to better understand crime scenes and to apply the latest investigative techniques "to become highly skilled at collecting, processing and interpreting evidence in their cases.''
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Not Mayberry: Palmer looks to neighborhood watches to combat crime

The Palmer Police Department is urging residents to form local neighborhood watches, though the local crime rate is holding steady.
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Eric Villasenor's comment, January 20, 3:50 PM
I live in the valley. It's good to know that people are concerned and united enough to come together to look for a solution. While a Facebook page may not be as effective as a strong police force, it should be noted that police aren't even half as effective without the community reaching out to police to ask for help and report crimes. Most police work seems to be reactive in our state. This is most likely due to our large surface area and the inability to patrol such a large area with so few people within a department such as PPD. Not a week later there was a similar article I read about a meeting in Wasilla. The concern was about rising crime rates surrounding break ins and property crime. A vast majority who spoke were those who lived outside the city limits and are patrolled by the Alaska State Troopers. A representative from the AST explained to residents that calls may be prioritized lowly due to their low staffing issues. He also expressed that AST has 100 fewer officers covering the entire state than Anchorage Police department within its own city limits. A neighborhood watch program can be effective to a degree, however, theres not much people can do without police power. Laypeople aren't equipped or regularly trained on how to handle active crimes and may make mistakes that harm themselves or others if they try to take matters into their own hands.
Rob Duke's comment, January 22, 8:39 PM
Yeah, I think FB is going to be increasingly used to help better connect citizens to one another and to the police. I had a department page and also a Twitter feed from day one and found it to be useful. I can only imagine 6 years later when everyone now carries a smart phone that these pages wouldn't be much more useful.
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FBI: Facial recognition software helps ID Indiana cold-case fugitive

An Indiana man who fled his home state after being suspected of molesting a 10 year old girl in 1999 has been arrested in Salem, Ore., according to the FBI.
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Spokane using risk assement tool to ease jail overcrowding

Spokane using risk assement tool to ease jail overcrowding | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Spokane is hoping it can cut down on the number of people of committing crimes over and over with several new restorative justice progams.
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John Oulton's comment, January 23, 3:56 PM
The recidivism rates are high for this county jail and many residents are frustrated. Some may want to lock them up while others understand that community based solutions and other conventional means can be the answer. Restorative justice is a lot more efficient than incarceration and has the offender accountable for their actions. Speaking to the victims and community help the offender realize their misdeeds and focus on others as well.
Rob Duke's comment, January 25, 12:36 PM
I agree: BTW, the Fairbanks Community Restorative Justice Initiative (FCRJI) is going live on Feb. 1. Our next meeting is Friday at Noon at the Wood Center. We've partnered with Restore, Inc. to manage the program and we've opened our offices with them and a new office at the courthouse. We're also excited to have Ron & Roxanne Claassen return in the first week of April to hold mediator training. Please let me know if you're interested in the training; or would be interested in having a year-long internship next year in the FCRJI program.
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Decatur man gets thumbs up for police forensic work

Decatur man gets thumbs up for police forensic work | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
From his start as one of 8,000 employees sorting through fingerprint cards in the massive FBI headquarters, German went on to distinguish himself as a groundbreaking forensic scientist.

He is credited with creating new evidentiary techniques and helping to establish crime labs, including the Illinois State Police lab, the first to receive national accreditation.

He has served as chief of intelligence for U.S. Army law enforcement worldwide, worked on high-profile serial murder cases, including the Chicago area Tylenol and California Nightstalker cases, and served as senior forensic scientist for the Army in Baghdad during the Iraq War.
Rob Duke's insight:
This is the original "super glue guy"....
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Jasmine Lowery's comment, February 6, 12:52 AM
This article is awesome Ed German talk about really having a true eye for detail. Being able to see the different detail between the rolled and ridge of fingers that is incredible! I think it’s inspiring how Ed German had various careers law enforcement. What really caught my attention was Ed German worked on the California Nightstalker case I watched the Investigation Discovery Channel and lifetime movie special on that crime. I also watch the special on the Chicago Tylenol case. It is interesting to read about someone who had an actual hand in solving both cases. The Automatic Fingerprint Identification System shortens the time to discover prints by five and half months. I really enjoyed this article how one person’s small idea became a massive positive shift with law enforcement solving local and cold cases crimes sooner.
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Police called to quell alleged riot at Victorian youth detention centre

Police called to quell alleged riot at Victorian youth detention centre | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Officers attended Malmsbury youth justice centre, 100km north of Melbourne, after detainees locked themselves in secure yard
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'Justice has been served,' families say to Dylann Roof

'Justice has been served,' families say to Dylann Roof | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Roof received 18 death sentences and 15 life sentences in the slaying of 9 black parishioners at a Charleston, S.C., church.
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The Dutch prison crisis: A shortage of prisoners - BBC News

The Dutch prison crisis: A shortage of prisoners - BBC News | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
While much of the world struggles with overcrowded prisons, in the Netherlands jails are rapidly emptying. How has this happened - and why are some people unhappy?
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Fort Lauderdale airport shooting reveals deficiency in Alaska law on crisis intervention

In Alaska, there is no straightforward legal process to weigh immediate risks and disarm people who are prone to violent behavior.
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It Took 20 Years For The Government To Pay For An Obvious Way To Prevent HIV

It Took 20 Years For The Government To Pay For An Obvious Way To Prevent HIV | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
A few days ago, after I heard the news that Congress had lifted a federal ban on funding for needle exchange programs, I called Alisa Solberg. She runs the Poin…
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The Weird Economics Of Ikea

The Weird Economics Of Ikea | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Ikea is a behemoth. The home furnishing company uses 1 percent of the planet’s lumber, it says, and the 530 million cubic feet of wood used to make Ikea furnitu…
Rob Duke's insight:
See the other article above about IKEA.
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Should More Campus Security Officers Be Using Tablets?

Should More Campus Security Officers Be Using Tablets? | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Here are some ways tablets might improve your campus security operations.
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Joshua Vey's comment, January 21, 10:01 PM
If it is for a good use such as communication, which can be vital as a security guard, then tablets are the way to go to improve security.
Rob Duke's comment, January 22, 8:18 PM
Yeah, one of my former departments beta-tested this idea for patrol and found it to be viable as long as the device is robust enough to handle dust, shock, vibration and drops.
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Old Misogynist Hatreds Fuel a New Year’s Massacre in Brazil · Global Voices

Old Misogynist Hatreds Fuel a New Year’s Massacre in Brazil · Global Voices | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Brazil has a femicide rate of 4.8 per 100,000 women, according to the World Health Organization — that's the fifth highest femicide rate in the world. Black women are the main targets, according to the 2015 Violence Map, an independent annual research report on violence in Brazil. The murder of black women rose 54 percent between 2003 and 2013. At least 10 women were murdered in the country by their partners in the first six days of 2017.

Brazilian lawmakers have tried to address gender violence in the past. In 2003, the country created the Maria da Penha Law to protect women victims of domestic violence. The legislation bears the name of an activist who was rendered a paraplegic by her husband, after he tried to kill her, twice. In 2015, another law, classifying feminicide as a hate crime, was added to the Brazilian Penal Code.
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'Report crime to police rather than posting on social media'

'Report crime to police rather than posting on social media' | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Officers in Nuneaton say they cannot investigate crimes without an official report
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Joshua Vey's comment, January 21, 10:03 PM
If a crime is reported to the police, then they can investigate that crime with an official report. It's not worth posting it on social media to your friends first because that will just waste time especially if it is a serious emergency.
Ashley DeLoney's comment, February 6, 1:39 AM
Of course you report a crime to the police rather than blast it over facebook or twitter and what not. Though these modern day social media accounts cause things like to happen, they are also a good way of tracking wrong doers. Virtually everything is posted on Facebook, which helps Police locate criminals.
Jonathan Beardsley's comment, February 11, 6:49 PM
I do agree that there should me more reporting to police rather that just posting it on social media, but in this age of instant networking I would say that most people feel very little vested interest in reporting and instead sharing and building the “social value “ with people that they network with.
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Toronto police solve 1983 murder, but won’t name killer | Toronto Star

Toronto police solve 1983 murder, but won’t name killer | Toronto Star | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Toronto police say they finally know who stabbed Peel schoolteacher Graham Hugh Pearce to death more than 30 years ago – but they won’t name the killer because he’s also dead.

Pearce, 36, was discovered dead on his bathroom floor of his High Park Ave. apartment on March 20, 1983 around 12:40 p.m.

Last April, Toronto police identified a person of interest in the investigation as Ronald Thomas Gale, who was 22 when Pearce was killed.

Gale died in 2001.

Det.-Sgt. Stacy Gallant of the cold case squad said Friday that police won’t identify the person they now believe to have been the killer on advice from the force’s legal department.

However, Gallant said police have not identified any other person of interest in the case since naming Gale.
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The good, bad, and unknown about marijuana's health effects

The good, bad, and unknown about marijuana's health effects | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Federal advisory panel releases report reviewing scientific evidence on health benefits and risks of marijuana
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Liam Juhl's comment, January 27, 3:23 AM
With more and more states legalizing, and more and more americans being introduced to, and normalizing this drug, it'll be interesting to see what we find out over the next few decades about its use, and how it affects our bodies and minds. It'll be interesting to see the impact it has on crime too, with so much being done illegally for these drugs, with a legal and safe option, so many are turning to a now more legitimate way to get their high. Of course, there will always be money involved, so the dark market for it won't just disappear, but it'll be interesting to see the impact marijuanas legalization has.
Ashley DeLoney's comment, January 29, 3:04 AM
I agree, it will be interesting to see the impact of legalizing a drug that we don't know much about. Weak evidence certainly is not enough evidence for me. In my opinion, legalizing a drug (benefits or not) is a step in the wrong direction. How can we lower the crime rate involving illegal drugs when we legalize a drug we really don't know much about? Interesting read. I had no idea that there is strong evidence showing marijuana use could lead to developing schizophrenia.
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The Neuroscience At The Heart Of Learning And Leading

The Neuroscience At The Heart Of Learning And Leading | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Marco Iacoboni is one of the pioneers in a new area of neuroscience. A few years ago in Parma, Italy, scientists were researching how the brain controls our actions. They accidentally discovered a whole new class of brain cells that seem to be the neural basis of empathy. They called them “mirror neurons” because these cells seemed to map one person’s actions into another’s brain—a kind of imprinting that explains why role models and mentors can be such powerful influences. Since then, Iacoboni and others have found these special neurons in other areas of the brain, and their story has become even more fascinating.

Iacoboni will be speaking at the NexusEQ Conference on the campus of Harvard University in June, one of 80 scientists and experts sharing insights on how people actually function—and how that can inform learning, leading, and living. While one might expect a neuroscientist to fixate on highly technical findings, Iacoboni’s keynote will go in a very different direction: he’ll explain how imagination and empathy are actually the doorways to personal—and therefore societal—transformation.

Neuroscience Meets Social Change

The conference theme is “Spark Positive Change.” The unfortunate truth is that humans find intentional change to be quite difficult (something like nine out of 10 personal change efforts fail). This is especially problematic in this current era of rapid change, where we desperately need solutions to new economic, environmental, and even educational demands.

So we have a problem, and neuroscience may just give us the insight we need to solve it. “Today we’re exploring new frontiers of the brain—and we’re now seeing how humans actually connect in profound ways,” says Iacoboni. “These insights can completely change the way we think of leading and learning.”
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'Werewolf' of Siberia among worst serial killers ever after confessing to 81 victims, says Russian media

Former Siberian policeman Mikhail Popkov, who is already serving a life sentence for the murders of 22 women, has confessed to killing 59 more, police told the Siberian Times.
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Texas executes convicted killer in first U.S. execution of 2017

Texas executes convicted killer in first U.S. execution of 2017 | Criminology and Economic Theory | Scoop.it
Christopher Wilkins was convicted of killing two people in 2005 after being tricked into paying $20 for a rock disguised as a chunk of crack cocaine.
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What the Cost of a Trip to the Vet Tells Us About Why Human Health Care Is So Expensive

The U.S. health care system is in deep trouble. We spend more per capita than any other country and have poor health outcomes to show for it. Health care spending as a share of the economy is growing faster than in any other country. One-quarter of Medicare spending is spent in the last 12 months of life.

The usual argument is that our peculiar mix of government policies, private health insurance markets, and the design of public health insurance have produced a health care system that, in the words of economists Alan Garber and Jonathan Skinner, is “uniquely inefficient.” Does this sound familiar? It should. We hear variants of this narrative frequently in academic seminars, public policy discussions, and the media. Indeed, we’ve written a lot in our prior work about how health insurance and government regulation affect — and distort — decisions in the health care system.

But something recently gave us pause: We noticed that the U.S. pet health care system has followed a similar trajectory over the last two decades. In a recent NBER working paper, we documented four similarities between our furry friends’ health care and ours. First, both have experienced rapid growth in spending, growing far more quickly than spending on, say, housing or entertainment. Second, health care providers — those for humans and those for animals — have experienced much rapider growth in employment than the U.S. economy as a whole. Third, the amount that households spend on human and pet health care varies across income brackets in a similar pattern; the difference in spending between high- and low-income households is much greater for pet health care or human health care than for other sectors like housing and entertainment. And finally, when we compared data from lymphoma patients at one pet hospital to data for Medicare patients with lymphoma, we found that spending spikes at the end of patients’ lives for dogs and dog owners alike.

In the case of pet health care, we can’t attribute these trends to the structure of the industry and its institutions. The usual scapegoats — an inefficient insurance system and onerous government regulation — are practically nonexistent in the veterinary industry. Almost no pets have health insurance, and regulation (or government intervention more broadly) is much less prevalent in pet health care than in human health care.

What, then, should we make of the common features in these two industries? Do they imply that insurance and regulation aren’t as important for the U.S. health care sector as we thought? We don’t think so; we aren’t inclined to throw all our prior work out the window that quickly. But we do think the new findings suggest that the focus on public policy in the debate over the cost of health care misses the full story. Something else is at work in the health care sector.

We aren’t sure what it is (yet), but we can think of two possible explanations. One is that the nature of technological progress, which is generally believed to be one of the driving forces behind rapidly growing health care costs, is similar in the two industries. Indeed, it’s possible that technological changes in human health care may have spillover effects on the treatment of pets. An improved CT scanner, for example, can be used on a cat as well as a human.

Another possibility, one that strikes us as particularly interesting, is that the nature of consumer decisions is very similar in human and pet health care, and in at least one respect is very different from almost every other decision we make. Consider how the problem unfolds: Something goes wrong, you need to make a decision about whether to try to “fix” the problem, and experts offer advice — they may disagree and they may stand to benefit financially from influencing your decision. So far, we could be describing human health care, pet health care, or auto repair. But here’s the crucial distinction, we think, between pet and human health care on the one hand and auto care on the other: Health care decisions, for humans or for pets, involve much greater emotional and financial trade-offs. Whether to fix the wheel bearings on your trusty 2004 Honda Civic or finally throw in the towel and scrap it arguably involves less (or different) emotion than whether to seek expensive health care for your pet or put it to sleep, or whether to undertake heroic measures for your ailing 95-year-old mother. The nature of the decision — trading off potential health improvements against money — may make coldly rational cost-benefit decisions unlikely.

Which explanation is it? Are both in play? Or are there other plausible hypotheses? We really don’t know. But the answer should matter to anyone concerned about the rising costs of health care.
Rob Duke's insight:
Just an example of institutions at work....
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Study: Attempt to curb OxyContin abuse aided heroin's resurgence

Underlying their conclusions is the agony of withdrawal from opioids like OxyContin, he said. Addicts suddenly deprived pills they can inject or smoke "feel like they are going to die and the only relief is another opiate," Cicero said. He said that looking back it is difficult to understand why experts in the field didn't see that reformulation would lead to increased heroin use.

"It's hard to imagine that all of us, the FDA included, didn't pick up on this as a possibility," he said.
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