McCrary Justin, General Equilibrium Effects of Prison on Crime: Evidence from International Comparisons, 2 Cato Papers on Pub. Pol'y 165 (2012)
We compare crime and incarceration rates over time for the United States, Canada, and England and Wales, as well as for a small selection of comparison countries. Shifts in U.S. punishment policy led to a five-fold increase in the incarceration rate, while nearly every other country experienced only minor increases in incarceration. The large shifts in U.S. punishment policy do not seem to have caused commensurately large improvements in public safety.