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Some reflections on the economics of prosecutors: Mandatory vs. selective prosecution

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  • Garoupa, Nuno

Abstract

Mandatory prosecution is inefficient according to legal economists. We argue that when prosecutors are fairly insulated from their performance or are highly risk-averse mandatory prosecution is better than selective prosecution. This result has important implications for comparative law. We use our findings to provide a positive explanation for the stylized fact that mandatory prosecution generally prevails in civil law jurisdictions whereas selective prosecution is typical of common law jurisdictions.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Review of Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 29 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 25-28

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Handle: RePEc:eee:irlaec:v:29:y:2009:i:1:p:25-28

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

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Keywords: Prosecutors Mandatory prosecution Selective prosecution Civil law Common law;

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References

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  1. Boari, Nicola & Fiorentini, Gianluca, 2001. "An economic analysis of plea bargaining: the incentives of the parties in a mixed penal system," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 213-231, June.
  2. Froeb, Luke M. & Kobayashi, Bruce H., 2001. "Evidence production in adversarial vs. inquisitorial regimes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 267-272, February.
  3. Song Shin, H, 1996. "Adversarial and Inquisitorial Procedures in Arbitration," Economics Papers 124, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  4. Anne van Aaken & Eli Salzberger & Stefan Voigt, 2003. "The Prosecution of Public Figures and the Separation of Powers: Confusion within the Executive Branch. A Conceptual Framework," ICER Working Papers 32-2003, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  5. Reinganum, Jennifer F., 1986. "Plea Bargaining and Prosecutorial Discretion," Working Papers 616, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  6. William M. Landes, 1974. "An Economic Analysis of the Courts," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 164-214 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Nuno Garoupa & Frank H Stephen, 2008. "Why plea-bargaining fails to achieve results in so many criminal justice systems: A new framework for assessment," Working Papers 2008-02, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales.
  8. Palumbo, Giuliana, 2006. "Optimal duplication of effort in advocacy systems," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 112-128, May.
  9. Malcolm B. Coate & Andrew N. Kleit, 1998. "Does it matter that the prosecutor is also the judge? The administrative complaint process at the Federal Trade Commission," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(1), pages 1-11.
  10. David Bjerk, 2004. "Making the Crime Fit the Penalty: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion Under Mandatory Minimum Sentencing," Department of Economics Working Papers 2004-12, McMaster University.
  11. Manu Raghav, 2006. "Why do budgets received by state prosecutors vary across districts in the United States?," Caepr Working Papers 2006-018, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  12. Boylan, Richard T, 2004. "Salaries, Turnover, and Performance in the Federal Criminal Justice System," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(1), pages 75-92, April.
  13. Parisi, Francesco, 2002. "Rent-seeking through litigation: adversarial and inquisitorial systems compared," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 193-216, August.
  14. Anne van Aaken & Lars P. Feld & Stefan Voigt, 2008. "Power over Prosecutors Corrupts Politicians: Cross Country Evidence Using a New Indicator," CESifo Working Paper Series 2245, CESifo Group Munich.
  15. Richard T. Boylan, 2005. "What Do Prosecutors Maximize? Evidence from the Careers of U.S. Attorneys," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 379-402.
  16. Shepherd, Joanna M, 2002. "Police, Prosecutors, Criminals, and Determinate Sentencing: The Truth about Truth-in-Sentencing Laws," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(2), pages 509-34, October.
  17. Boylan, Richard T & Long, Cheryl X, 2005. "Salaries, Plea Rates, and the Career Objectives of Federal Prosecutors," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(2), pages 627-51, October.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Matteo Rizzolli & Margherita Saraceno, 2013. "Better that ten guilty persons escape: punishment costs explain the standard of evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 155(3), pages 395-411, June.
  2. Echazu, Luciana & Garoupa, Nuno, 2012. "Why not adopt a loser-pays-all rule in criminal litigation?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 233-241.
  3. Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay & Bryan C McCannon, 2010. "Prosecutorial Retention: Signaling by Trial," Discussion Papers 10-11, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.

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