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Breaking the law when others do: A model of law enforcement with neighborhood externalities

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  • Ferrer, Rosa

Abstract

A standard assumption in the economics of law enforcement is that the probability of a violator being punished depends only on the resources devoted to enforcement. However, it is often true that the productivity of enforcement resources decreases with the number of violators. In this paper, an individual who violates the law provides a positive externality for other offenders because the probability of being punished decreases with the number of individuals violating the law. This externality explains the existence of correlation between individuals' decisions to break a law. The model evaluates the implications when determining the socially optimal enforcement expenditure, focusing specifically on the case of neighborhood crime. In particular, using a parametrized functional form, I show that neighborhood externalities will enhance or impede enforcement, depending on the crime rate.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 54 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (February)
Pages: 163-180

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:54:y:2010:i:2:p:163-180

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer

Related research

Keywords: Law enforcement Externalities Neighborhood effects Multiple equilibria Risk dominance;

References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Semih Akcomak & Bas ter Weel, 2009. "The impact of social capital on crime: Evidence from the Netherlands," CPB Discussion Paper 136, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  2. Dur, Robert & van der Weele, Joël, 2011. "Status-Seeking in Criminal Subcultures and the Double Dividend of Zero-Tolerance," IZA Discussion Papers 5484, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Eleonora Patacchini & Yves Zenou, 2012. "Juvenile Delinquency and Conformism," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(1), pages 1-31.
  4. Baumann, Florian & Friehe, Tim, 2013. "Status concerns as a motive for crime?," DICE Discussion Papers 93, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
  5. Lee, Lung-Fei & Liu, Xiaodong & Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2011. "Criminal Networks: Who is the Key Player?," CEPR Discussion Papers 8185, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Bjerk, David, 2010. "Thieves, thugs, and neighborhood poverty," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 231-246, November.
  7. Galbiati, Roberto & Zanella, Giulio, 2012. "The tax evasion social multiplier: Evidence from Italy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(5), pages 485-494.
  8. Baumann, Florian & Friehe, Tim, 2013. "Competitive pressure and corporate crime," DICE Discussion Papers 110, Heinrich‐Heine‐Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).

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