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Plea Bargaining with Budgetary Constraints

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  • Joanne Roberts

    (University of Calgary)

  • Steeve Mongrain

Abstract

In this paper, we construct a simple model that illustrates a perverse effect associated with plea bargaining in which an increase in sanctions can lead to reduced deterrence. This finding is derived from the interaction of binding budgetary constraints and plea bargaining. In an environment with these institutional features, higher sanctions are not always optimal when resources are limited, even if such sanctions are costless. Such potential phenomena may be useful in explaining the fact that many states have introduced limitations on plea bargaining. Career-concerned prosecutors are necessary for such a result to be present.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Calgary in its series Working Papers with number 2008-06.

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Date of creation: 29 Jan 2008
Date of revision: 29 Jan 2008
Handle: RePEc:clg:wpaper:2008-06

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References

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  1. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 2005. "The Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," Discussion Papers 05-004, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  2. George L. Priest & Benjamin Klein, 1984. "The Selection of Disputes for Litigation," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 1-56, January.
  3. Levitt, Steven D. & Miles, Thomas J., 2007. "Empirical Study of Criminal Punishment," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
  4. Landes, William M, 1971. "An Economic Analysis of the Courts," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(1), pages 61-107, April.
  5. Baker, Scott & Mezzetti, Claudio, 2001. "Prosecutorial Resources, Plea Bargaining, and the Decision to Go to Trial," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(1), pages 149-67, April.
  6. Bar-Gill, Oren & Gazal Ayal, Oren, 2006. "Plea Bargains Only for the Guilty," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(1), pages 353-64, April.
  7. Stigler, George J, 1970. "The Optimum Enforcement of Laws," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(3), pages 526-36, May-June.
  8. Richard T. Boylan, 2005. "What Do Prosecutors Maximize? Evidence from the Careers of U.S. Attorneys," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 379-402.
  9. Eric Rasmusen & Manu Raghav, & Mark Ramseyer, 2008. "Convictions versus Conviction Rates: The Prosecutor’s Choice," Working Papers 2008-16, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  10. Grossman, Gene M & Katz, Michael L, 1983. "Plea Bargaining and Social Welfare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 749-57, September.
  11. Mookherjee, Dilip & Png, I P L, 1994. "Marginal Deterrence in Enforcement of Law," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 1039-66, October.
  12. Reinganum, Jennifer F, 1988. "Plea Bargaining and Prosecutorial Discretion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 713-28, September.
  13. Isaac Ehrlich, 1996. "Crime, Punishment, and the Market for Offenses," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 43-67, Winter.
  14. William M. Landes, 1974. "Legality and Reality: Some Evidence on Criminal Procedure," NBER Working Papers 0040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Ramseyer, J Mark & Rasmusen, Eric B, 2001. "Why Is the Japanese Conviction Rate So High?," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(1), pages 53-88, January.
  16. Thomas Miceli, 2007. "The Economics of Criminal Procedure," Working papers 2007-24, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  17. Boylan, Richard T & Long, Cheryl X, 2005. "Salaries, Plea Rates, and the Career Objectives of Federal Prosecutors," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(2), pages 627-51, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Marceau, Nicolas & Mongrain, Steeve, 1999. "Dissuader le crime : un survol," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 75(1), pages 123-147, mars-juin.

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