Criminal Law and Behavioral Law and Economics: Observations on the Neglected Role of Uncertainty in Deterring Crime
AbstractCriminal sanctions are usually public, stable and predictable. In contrast, the practices governing the determination of the probability of detection and conviction reinforce uncertainty. We invoke psychological insights to illustrate that criminals prefer a scheme in which the size of the sentence is uncertain while the probability of detection and conviction is certain. Consequently, the choice to increase certainty with respect to the size of the sentence and to decrease certainty with respect to the probability of detection and conviction can be justified on the grounds that such a scheme is disfavored by criminals and consequently has better deterrent effects.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics in its series Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series with number qt2gx715nd.
Date of creation: 01 Sep 1999
Date of revision:
Other versions of this item:
- Harel, Alon & Segal, Uzi, 1999. "Criminal Law and Behavioral Law and Economics: Observations on the Neglected Role of Uncertainty in Deterring Crime," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1-2), pages 276-312, Fall.
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