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A Theory of Optimal Random Crackdowns

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  • Jan Eeckhout
  • Nicola Persico
  • Petra E. Todd

Abstract

An incentives based theory of policing is developed which can explain the phenomenon of random "crackdowns," i.e., intermittent periods of high interdiction/ surveillance. For a variety of police objective functions, random crackdowns can be part of the optimal monitoring strategy. We demonstrate support for implications of the crackdown theory using traffic data gathered by the Belgian Police Department and use the model to estimate the deterrence effect of additional resources spent on speeding interdiction. (JEL K42, R41)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 100 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 1104-35

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:100:y:2010:i:3:p:1104-35

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.100.3.1104
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  1. John Knowles & Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, . ""Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence''," CARESS Working Papres, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences 99-06, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  2. Edward P. Lazear, 2004. "Speeding, Tax Fraud, and Teaching to the Test," NBER Working Papers 10932, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Polinsky, Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1979. "The Optimal Tradeoff between the Probability and Magnitude of Fines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 69(5), pages 880-91, December.
  4. Ashenfelter, Orley & Greenstone, Michael, 2002. "Using Mandated Speed Limits to Measure the Value of a Statistical Life," IZA Discussion Papers 571, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. George J. Stigler, 1974. "The Optimum Enforcement of Laws," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 55-67 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Peltzman, Sam, 1975. "The Effects of Automobile Safety Regulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(4), pages 677-725, August.
  7. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  8. Rafael Di Tella & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2004. "Do Police Reduce Crime? Estimates Using the Allocation of Police Forces After a Terrorist Attack," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 115-133, March.
  9. Chander, Parkash & Wilde, Louis L, 1998. "A General Characterization of Optimal Income Tax Enforcement," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(1), pages 165-83, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Zhixin Dai & Robin M. Hogarth & Marie Claire Villeval, 2014. "Ambiguity on audits and cooperation in a public goods game," Working Papers halshs-00944500, HAL.
  2. Gregory DeAngelo & Gary Charness, 2012. "Deterrence, expected cost, uncertainty and voting: Experimental evidence," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 73-100, February.
  3. D'Este, Rocco, 2014. "The Effect of Stolen Goods Markets on Crime: Evidence from a Quasi - Natural Experiment," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1040, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  4. Sylvain Chassang & Gerard Padró i Miquel, 2014. "Corruption, Intimidation, and Whistle-blowing: a Theory of Inference from Unverifiable Reports," NBER Working Papers 20315, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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