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date: 24 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Theory has suggested that between-individual differences in decision making can be used to explain criminal offending. Individuals who commit crime have been described as lacking willpower or as too present oriented, leading them to think in the here and now. In this chapter, temporal discounting is proposed as one way to explain how an individual may consider immediate rewards and underweight future sanction costs, allowing criminal behavior in the present to become a rational choice under expected utility theory. This chapter provides an overview of temporal orientation as it is related to the discounted utility model and describes how these concepts may have implications for the celerity principle of deterrence.

Keywords: utility, temporal discounting, deterrence, sanction costs, celerity principle

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