Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello

Hate Groups and Hate Crime

  • Matt E. RyanEmail author
  • Peter T. Leeson
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_686


Hate crimes are criminal offenses motivated by offenders’ animus toward their victims based on victims’ race, religion, sexual orientation, or other such characteristic. Hate groups are organizations of individuals whose organizing purpose is thought to reflect animus toward certain people based on their race, religion, sexual orientation, or other such characteristic.

The Economics of (Hate) Crime

Gary Becker (1968) pioneered the economics of crime by applying rational choice theory to analyze decisions to break the law. In his rendering, and in most of the enormous literature in the economics of crime following Becker, criminal activity is motivated by the prospect of material gain.

Although material gain undoubtedly motivates the vast majority of criminal behavior, it does not motivate all of it. One example of criminal behavior not so motivated is that which reflects “hate crime.” The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines such crime as “criminal offense against a...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsDuquesne UniversityPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA