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Justifying Imprisonment: On the Optimality of Excessively Costly Punishment

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  • Abraham L. Wickelgren
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    Abstract

    The criminal punishment literature has focused on justifying nonmaximal punishments and the use of nonmonetary sanctions. It has not addressed why imprisonment, rather than cheaper forms of corporal punishment, should be the dominant type of nonmonetary sanctions. David Friedman (1999) recently hypothesized that, because convicts lack political influence, it is desirable to make punishment costlier than necessary to prevent policy makers from excessively punishing convicts. This article explicitly models this hypothesis and uses simulations to determine under what circumstances this hypothesis justifies using imprisonment rather than cheaper nonmonetary sanctions. Copyright 2003, Oxford University Press.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal American Law and Economics Review.

    Volume (Year): 5 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 2 (August)
    Pages: 377-411

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:amlawe:v:5:y:2003:i:2:p:377-411

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    Cited by:
    1. Bryane Michael (Linacre College), . "Drafting Implementing Regulations for International Anti-Corruption Conventions," QEH Working Papers qehwps150, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.

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