Modeling offender decision making with secondary data

Wim Bernasco*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Many questions about offender decision making are answered by analyzing data from secondary sources, which include police records and other law enforcement sources, but also full population registries containing data on birth, death, family composition, schooling, employment, and social and health service usage. Although secondary data are not collected for research purposes, they have a number of advantages over regular survey data. This chapter discusses the use of secondary data, using as examples two types of offender decisions: whether or not to offend (explored in developmental and life course criminology) and where to offend (explored in geographic and environmental criminology). These are decisions that can fruitfully be studied from a rational choice perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Offender Decision Making
EditorsWim Bernasco, Jean-Louis van Gelder, Henk Elffers
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780190216276
ISBN (Print)9780199338801
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameOxford Handbooks


  • Criminal justice data
  • Geography of crime
  • Life course criminology
  • Population registry
  • Secondary data


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