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The Reporting and Underreporting of Rape

W. David Allen
Southern Economic Journal
Vol. 73, No. 3 (Jan., 2007), pp. 623-641
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20111915
Page Count: 19
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Reporting and Underreporting of Rape
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Abstract

A rape victim possesses a scarce resource: information about the crime. Thus, a victim's decision to report the crime to police, to allocate that resource, becomes an economic choice. A victim cannot receive social support or legal justice without revealing such information, but doing so creates real costs-social recrimination and lost privacy-with no guarantee of offender apprehension. This article explores the economics of the reporting and chronic nonreporting of rape in the context of this information-allocation problem. The empirical analysis addresses the extent to which social-support availability and evidentiary factors influence the reporting decision. Dichotomous and multinomial logit results, obtained using National Crime Survey data on a sample of rape victims, reveal how various demographic and crime-specific factors explain the decision to report and the selection of specific reasons for not reporting. Some of these factors reflect circumstances addressable as matters of procedure or policy.

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