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Corruption and Optimal Law Enforcement

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  • Polinsky, Mitchell
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    Abstract

    This article analyzes corruption of law enforcement agents: payment of bribes to agents so that they will not report violations. Corruption dilutes deterrence because bribe payments are less than sanctions. The statemay not be able to offset this effect of bribery by raising sanctions for the underlying offense. Thus, it may be optimal to expend resources to detect and penalize corruption. At the optimum, however, corruption may not be deterred. Nonetheless, it may be desirable to attempt to control corruption in order to raise the offender's costs - the sum of the bribe payment and the expected sanction for bribery - and thereby increase deterrence of the underlying violation.

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    File URL: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/35h389gd.pdf;origin=repeccitec
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics in its series Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series with number qt35h389gd.

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    Date of creation: 29 Apr 1999
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    Handle: RePEc:cdl:oplwec:qt35h389gd

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    1. Polinsky, Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1979. "The Optimal Tradeoff between the Probability and Magnitude of Fines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(5), pages 880-91, December.
    2. Basu, Kaushik & Bhattacharya, Sudipto & Mishra, Ajit, 1992. "Notes on bribery and the control of corruption," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 349-359, August.
    3. Shavell, Steven, 1991. "Specific versus General Enforcement of Law," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 1088-1108, October.
    4. Kofman, Fred & Lawarree, Jacques, 1993. "Collusion in Hierarchical Agency," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(3), pages 629-56, May.
    5. Mookherjee, Dilip & Png, I P L, 1995. "Corruptible Law Enforcers: How Should They Be Compensated?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(428), pages 145-59, January.
    6. Bowles, Roger & Garoupa, Nuno, 1997. "Casual police corruption and the economics of crime," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 75-87, March.
    7. Pranab Bardhan, 1997. "Corruption and Development: A Review of Issues," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1320-1346, September.
    8. Kaplow, Louis, 1992. "The optimal probability and magnitude of fines for acts that definitely are undesirable," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 3-11, March.
    9. Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Hierarchies and Bureaucracies: On the Role of Collusion in Organizations," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(2), pages 181-214, Fall.
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    Cited by:
    1. Bin Dong & Uwe Dulleck & Benno Torgler, 2009. "Conditional Corruption," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 241, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
    2. Eskeland, Gunnar S. & Thiele, Henrik, 1999. "Corruption under moral hazard," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2204, The World Bank.

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