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Do We Punish High Income Criminals Too Heavily?

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  • Lott, John R, Jr
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    Abstract

    Many critics believe that since high income criminals can afford to purchase better legal services they are less severely punished than poor criminals who commit equivalent crimes. Others are concerned that the penalties imposed on criminals are "too small." This paper shows that ignoring the effect conviction has on later earnings dramatically underestimates the total monetary penalty paid by those convicted and that the penalty structure is extremely progressive. Where evidence on the probability of conviction is available, it shows that the highest income criminals face the highest expected penalties. Copyright 1992 by Oxford University Press.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.

    Volume (Year): 30 (1992)
    Issue (Month): 4 (October)
    Pages: 583-608

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:30:y:1992:i:4:p:583-608

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    Cited by:
    1. Armstrong, J. Scott & Green, Kesten C., 2012. "Effects of corporate social responsibility and irresponsibility policies," MPRA Paper 43007, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Levitt, Steven D., 1997. "Incentive compatibility constraints as an explanation for the use of prison sentences instead of fines," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 179-192, June.
    3. Eric Rasmusen, 1995. "``Stigma and Self-Fulfilling Expectations of Criminality''," Law and Economics 9506001, EconWPA.
    4. Goodman, John C. & Porter, Philip, 2002. "Is the criminal justice system just?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 25-39, July.
    5. Jeffrey R. Kling, 2004. "Incarceration Length, Employment, and Earnings," Working Papers 873, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    6. Kenneth Avio, 1998. "The Economics of Prisons," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 143-175, September.
    7. Matthew Baker & Niklas J. Westelius, 2009. "Crime, Expectations and The Deterrence Hypothesis," Hunter College Department of Economics Working Papers 425, Hunter College: Department of Economics.
    8. Todd Cherry, 2001. "Financial penalties as an alternative criminal sanction: Evidence from panel data," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 29(4), pages 450-458, December.
    9. Anna Aizer & Joseph J. Doyle, Jr., 2013. "Juvenile Incarceration, Human Capital and Future Crime: Evidence from Randomly-Assigned Judges," NBER Working Papers 19102, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Kobayashi, Bruce H. & Lott, John Jr., 1996. "In defense of criminal defense expenditures and plea bargaining," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 397-416, December.
    11. P.J. Engelen, 2006. "An economic analysis of the Bekaert NV insider trading case," Working Papers 06-04, Utrecht School of Economics.
    12. Kelly Bedard & Eric Helland, . "The Location of Women's Prisons and the Deterrence Effect of 'Harder' Time," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2000-06, Claremont Colleges.
    13. Robert E. Hoyt & David B. Mustard & Lars S. Powell, 2005. "The Effectiveness of Insurance Fraud Statutues: Evidence from Automobile Insurance," Risk and Insurance 0501001, EconWPA.
    14. Lars P. Feld & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2002. "Why People Obey the Law: Experimental Evidence from the Provision of Public Goods," CESifo Working Paper Series 651, CESifo Group Munich.
    15. repec:fth:prinin:450 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Peter-Jan Engelen, 2006. "Difficulties in the criminal prosecution of insider trading—A clinical study of the Bekaert case," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 121-141, September.
    17. Pelletan, Jacques, 2009. "Education, travail et activité criminelle : un modèle d’allocation temporelle à trois périodes," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/3482, Paris Dauphine University.
    18. Mudambi, Ram & Paul, Chris, 2003. "Domestic drug prohibition as a source of foreign institutional instability: an analysis of the multinational extralegal enterprise," Journal of International Management, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 335-349.

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