Judicial Errors and Crime Deterrence: Theory and Experimental Evidence
AbstractThe economic theory of crime deterrence predicts that the conviction of an innocent individual (type I error) is as detrimental to deterrence as the acquittal of a guilty individual (type II error). In this paper, we qualify this result theoretically, showing that in the presence of risk aversion, loss aversion, or type I error aversion, type I errors have a stronger effect on deterrence than type II errors. We test these predictions with two experimental studies in which participants choose whether to steal from other individuals, under alternative combinations of probabilities of judicial errors. The results indicate that both types of errors have a significant impact on deterrence. As predicted, type I errors have a stronger impact on deterrence than type II errors. This asymmetry is entirely explained by differences in the expected utility gains from crime, whereas nonexpected utility factors do not play a significant role.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Law and Economics.
Volume (Year): 55 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 311 - 338
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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/
Other versions of this item:
- Matteo Rizzolli & Luca Stanca, 2009. "Judicial Errors and Crime Deterrence: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Working Papers 170, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2009.
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
- K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
- K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process
- K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
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