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Efficient Deterrence does not Require that the Wealthy should be Able to Buy Justice

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  • Nuno Garoupa
  • Hugh Gravelle

Abstract

It has been argued that it is inefficient to restrict the ability of the rich to buy better legal defense than the poor because such restrictions lead to overdeterrence of the wealthy, who have a higher opportunity cost of imprisonment. We show that the ability of the rich to buy a lower conviction probability can never lead to the expected sanction for a crime being the same at all income levels. Thus whilst a restriction on legal defense expenditure increases the proportion of individuals who are inefficiently overdeterred, it also reduces the proportion who are inefficiently underdeterred. Hence the efficiency implications are ambiguous.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen in its journal Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics.

Volume (Year): 159 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 545-

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Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(200309)159:3_545:eddnrt_2.0.tx_2-q

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Cited by:
  1. Polinsky, A. Mitchell, 2006. "The optimal use of fines and imprisonment when wealth is unobservable," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 823-835, May.
  2. Garoupa, Nuno & Stephen, Frank, 2003. "A Note on Optimal Law Enforcement with Legal Aid," CEPR Discussion Papers 4113, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Francesco Parisi & Jonathan Klick & Nuno Garoupa, 2006. "A Law and Economics Perspective on Terrorism," Working Papers 2006-09, FEDEA.

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