Article Title

Better at Home than in Prison? The Effects of Electronic Monitoring on Recidivism in France

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Many countries have recently adopted electronic monitoring (EM) as an alternative sentence to reduce incarceration while maintaining public safety. However, the empirical evidence on the effects of EM on recidivism (relative to prison) is very scarce worldwide. Our empirical strategy exploits the incremental rollout of EM in France, which started as a local experiment in four courts in 2000–2001 and was later adopted by an increasing number of courts. Our instrumental variables estimates show that fully converting prison sentences into EM has long-lasting beneficial effects on recidivism, with estimated reductions in the probability of reconviction of 6–7 percentage points (9–11 percent) after 5 years. The presence of heterogeneous effects suggests that both rehabilitation and deterrence are important factors in reducing long-term recidivism and that EM can be a very cost-effective alternative to short prison sentences.

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