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Deterred or Detained? A Unified Model of Criminal Punishment

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  • Miceli Thomas J.

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

The standard economic model of crime since Becker (1968) is primarily concerned with deterrence, but actual punishment policies appear to rely on imprisonment to a greater extent than is prescribed by that model. One reason may be the incapacitation function of prison. The model developed in this paper seeks to incorporate incapacitation into the standard model. A key finding of the hybrid model is that when prison is the only form of punishment and the probability of apprehension is fixed, incapacitation can result in a longer or a shorter optimal prison term compared to the deterrence-only model. Other aspects of the standard model are studied within the context of the hybrid model.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Review of Law & Economics.

Volume (Year): 8 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 1-20

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:rlecon:v:8:y:2012:i:1:n:1

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  1. Loury, Glenn C, 1979. "Market Structure and Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 395-410, August.
  2. Winand Emons, 2004. "Subgame-Perfect Punishment for Repeat Offenders," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(3), pages 496-502, July.
  3. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  4. Thomas J. Miceli & Catherine Bucci, 2004. "A Simple Theory of Increasing Penalties for Repeat Offenders," Working papers 2004-39, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  5. Miceli, Thomas J., 1991. "Optimal criminal procedure: Fairness and deterrence," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 3-10, May.
  6. Lewin, Jeff L. & Trumbull, William N., 1990. "The social value of crime?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 271-284, December.
  7. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1981. "On the Usefulness of Controlling Individuals: An Economic Analysis of Rehabilitation, Incapacitation, and Deterrence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 307-22, June.
  8. Mortensen, Dale T, 1982. "Property Rights and Efficiency in Mating, Racing, and Related Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 968-79, December.
  9. Davis, Michael L, 1988. "Time and Punishment: An Intertemporal Model of Crime," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 383-90, April.
  10. Mitchell Polinsky, A. & Rubinfeld, Daniel L., 1991. "A model of optimal fines for repeat offenders," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 291-306, December.
  11. Shavell, Steven, 1987. "A Model of Optimal Incapacitation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 107-10, May.
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