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A Comprehensive Application of Rational Choice Theory: How Costs Imposed by, and Benefits Derived from, the U.S. Federal Government Affect Incidents Perpetrated by the Radical Eco-Movement


A Comprehensive Application of Rational Choice Theory: How Costs Imposed by, and Benefits Derived from, the U.S. Federal Government Affect Incidents Perpetrated by the Radical Eco-Movement

Abstract: 

In this study, we examine the effect of both the costs and benefits of perpetration, along with the rewards of abstention, on the behavior of a uniquely rational, yet frequent perpetrator of ideologically-motivated crime: the radical eco-movement.

We combine data on U.S. federal government actions and incidents perpetrated by the radical eco-movement to assess multiple components of rational choice theory. Our investigation employs Granger causality and autoregressive Poisson analyses.

As a whole, we find that what the government does seems to influence the behavior of the radical eco-movement; namely, when government behaviors increase the costs of perpetration, eco-incidents decline. Further, we find partial evidence that raising the marginal benefit of perpetration is associated with more incidents.

Theorizing as to why such nuanced findings were discovered, we conclude that the decision-making process of the radical eco-movement is more complex than originally anticipated.

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Carson, Jennifer Varriale, Laura Dugan, and Sue-Ming Yang. 2019. "A Comprehensive Application of Rational Choice Theory: How Costs Imposed by, and Benefits Derived from, the U.S. Federal Government Affect Incidents Perpetrated by the Radical Eco-Movement." Journal of Quantitative Criminology (August). https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10940-019-09427-8

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