Are Fines and Prison Terms Used Efficiently? Evidence on Federal Fraud Offenders
AbstractOptimal penalty theory predicts that, because imprisonment is costly and fines are costless, fines will be used to the maximum extent possible before they are supplemented with imprisonment. If criminal procedure functions as a market system, as some observers have suggested, then optimizing models of sanctions may be viewed as positive and not just normative descriptions of criminal sentencing. This article examines the use of fines and prison terms to punish federal fraud offenders. We find that prison terms depend strongly and positively on harms, while fines depend strongly and positively on ability to pay. In addition, individuals punished with higher fines receive shorter prison terms, a finding that supports efficient punishment over some of its alternatives. These results demonstrate optimizing tendencies in sentencing, even if not optimality itself. Copyright 1995 by the University of Chicago.
Download InfoTo our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
1. Check below under "Related research" whether another version of this item is available online.
2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Law & Economics.
Volume (Year): 38 (1995)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Jose Meade & Joel Waldfogel, 1998. "Do Sentencing Guidelines Raise the Cost of Punishment?," NBER Working Papers 6361, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Einat, Tomer, 2008. "Sentencing rationales, judicial discretion, and the practice of criminal fines in Israel," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 444-452, September.
- 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.
- Pallage, Stephane & Demougin, Dominique, 2003.
"Limiting court behavior: a case for high minimum sentences and low maximum ones,"
International Review of Law and Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 309-321, September.
- Dominique Demougin & Stephane Pallage, 2000. "Limiting Court Behavior: A Case for High Minimum Sentences and Low Maximum Ones," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 101, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
- Kenneth Avio, 1998. "The Economics of Prisons," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 143-175, September.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Journals Division).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.