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Out-of-work economists will probably not turn to bank robbery

Three economists decided to examine bank robbery as an economic activity. They were given access to data from the British Bankers’ Association on the amounts stolen during robberies, pretended to be statisticians for a bit, and came up with some interesting results. They’ve written up their findings in a feature article in the June edition of Significance.

Photo courtesy Orange County Archives.

The main finding is that robbing banks is no way to earn a living – the average raid yielded just over £12,000 per robber involved. They also reckon that the probabibility of getting caught is only 20%, which sounds pretty good to me. See if you can spot the logical fallacy in their calculation of the probability of remaining at liberty after three robberies.

If this article doesn’t interest you much, it cites another one with a much better name: Everybody Stay Cool, This Is a Robbery by Giovanni Mastrobuoni. That’s a full-bore economics piece though. Is there an inverse correlation between the rigour of a subject and the prevalence of stunt titles?

Article: Robbing banks: Crime does pay – but not very much in Significance Magazine

Source: Mathematical Proof That Crime Doesn’t Pay on Gizmodo

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