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Online ISSN: 1099-176X    Print ISSN: 1091-4358
The Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics
Volume 22, Issue 2, 2019. Pages: 71-79
Published Online: 1 June 2019

Copyright © 2019 ICMPE.


 

Unit Costs of Delinquent Acts for Use in Economic Evaluations

Vivian T. Reckers-Droog,1* Maartje Goorden,2 Marcel G.W. Dijkgraaf,3 Hester V. Van Eeren,4 Kathryn E. McCollister,5 Leona Hakkaart-van Roijen1

1Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
2Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam; Statistics Netherlands, Den Haag, the Netherlands
3Clinical Research Unit, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
4Viersprong Institute for Studies on Personality Disorders, Halsteren; Department of Psychiatry, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam; DSW, Schiedam, the Netherlands
5Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA

* Correspondence to: Vivian T. Reckers-Droog, Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam, P.O. Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Tel.: +31-10-4088 782
E-mail: reckers@eshpm.eur.nl

Source of Funding: This study was funded by a public grant of the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMW), project number 15700.4007. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors.

Abstract
Delinquent acts impose high costs on society and should be included in economic evaluations of youth mental health interventions conducted from a societal perspective. This study presents a methodology for and estimation of 14 delinquent acts that are common in the Netherlands and included in self reported delinquency questionnaires: robbery/theft with violence, simple theft/pickpocketing, receiving stolen goods, destruction/vandalism of private or public property, disorderly conduct/discrimination, arson, cybercrime, simple and aggravated assault, threat, forced sexual contact, unauthorised driving, driving under the influence, dealing in  soft drugs, and dealing in hard drugs. The mean (SD) unit costs per delinquent act per perpetrator rangedbetween €495 (€1.30) for “Driving under the influence” and €33,813 (€78.30) for “Cybercrime”. These unit costs may be considered as outliers as most ranged between €2,600 and €13,500. The results of this study enable the inclusion of government expenditures associated with crime and justice in economic evaluations.


Background: Youth mental health interventions aimed at reducing substance use and delinquency in adolescents compete with other types of interventions for reimbursement from public funding. Within the youth mental health domain, delinquent acts impose high costs on society. These costs should be included in economic evaluations conducted from a societal perspective. Although the relevance of these costs is recognized, they are often left out because the unit costs of delinquent acts are unknown.

Aims of the Study: This study aims to provide a method for estimating the unit costs per perpetrator of 14 delinquent acts common in the Netherlands and included in self reported delinquency questionnaires: robbery/theft with violence, simple theft/pickpocketing, receiving stolen goods, destruction/vandalism of private or public property, disorderly conduct/discrimination, arson, cybercrime, simple and aggravated assault, threat, forced sexual contact, unauthorised driving, driving under the influence, dealing in soft drugs, and dealing in hard drugs.

Methods: Information on government expenditures and the incidence of crimes, number of perpetrators, and the percentage of solved and reported crimes was obtained from the national database on crime and justice of the Research and Documentation Centre of the Ministry of Justice and Security, Statistics Netherlands, and the Council for the Judiciary in the Netherlands. We applied a top-down micro costing approach to calculate the point estimate of the unit costs for each of the delinquent acts and, subsequently, estimated the mean (SD) unit costs for each of the delinquent acts by taking random draws from a triangular distribution while taking into account a 10% uncertainty associated with the associated point estimate.

Results: The mean (SD) unit costs per delinquent act per perpetrator ranged between 495 (1.30) for “Driving under the influence” and 33,813 (78.30) for a “Cybercrime”. These unit costs may be considered as outliers as most unit costs ranged between 2,600 and 13,500 per delinquent act per perpetrator.

Discussion: This study is the first to estimate the unit costs per delinquent act per perpetrator in the Netherlands. The results of this study enable the inclusion of government expenditures associated with crime and justice in economic evaluations conducted from a societal perspective.

Implications for Health Care Provision and Use: Youth mental health interventions aimed at reducing substance use and delinquency in adolescents are increasingly subjected to economic evaluations. These evaluations are used to inform decisions concerning the allocation of scarce healthcare resources and should cover all the costs and benefits for society, including those associated with delinquent acts.

Implications for Health Policies: The results of this study facilitate economic evaluations of youth mental health interventions aimed at reducing substance use and delinquency in adolescents, conducted from a societal perspective.

Implications for Further Research: Based on health-economic evaluations conducted in the field of youth mental health and the results of the current study, we recommend including the estimated unit costs in guidelines for health-economic evaluations conducted from a societal perspective. Future research could aim at examining whether these unit costs require regular updating. The methodology applied in this study allows for this.

Received 6 February 2018; accepted 19 May 2019

Copyright 2019 ICMPE