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Cost Minimizing Sequential Punishment Policies for Repeat Offenders

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  • Motchenkova, Evgenia

    (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculteit der Economische Wetenschappen en Econometrie (Free University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics Sciences, Business Administration and Economitrics)

Abstract

This paper concludes that, when offenders are wealth constrained and the government is resource constrained and can commit to a certain policy throughout the whole planning horizon, cost minimizing deterrence is decreasing, rather than increasing, in the number of offenses. By extending the framework, suggested in Emons (2003), to n-periods setting, we prove that for the agents who may commit an act several times, optimal sanctions are such that the fine for the first crime equals the offender's entire wealth, and the fines are zero for all the subsequent crimes. This result contradicts the widely prevailing escalating penalties imbedded in many penal codes and sentencing guidelines. In addition, analogous to Emons (2004), this scheme does not appear to be a time consistent (subgame perfect) strategy for the government in an n-periods setting. Moreover, we show that, if the government cannot commit, equal rather than decreasing sanctions will be optimal.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics in its series Serie Research Memoranda with number 0008.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:vuarem:2006-8

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Web page: http://www.feweb.vu.nl

Related research

Keywords: Crime and punishment; Repeat offenders; Subgame perfection;

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References

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  1. Leung, S.F., 1991. "How to Make the Fine Fit the Corporate Crime? An Analysis of Static and Dynamic Optimal Punishment Theories," RCER Working Papers 261, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  2. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Daniel L. Rubinfeld, 1991. "A Model of Optimal Fines for Repeat Offenders," NBER Working Papers 3739, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Burnovski, Moshe & Safra, Zvi, 1994. "Deterrence effects of sequential punishment policies: Should repeat offenders be more severely punished?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 341-350, September.
  4. Landsberger, Michael & Meilijson, Isaac, 1982. "Incentive generating state dependent penalty system : The case of income tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 333-352, December.
  5. Winand Emons, 2001. "A Note on the Optimal Punishment for Repeat Offenders," Diskussionsschriften dp0104, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  6. 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.
  7. Malik Arun S., 1993. "Self-Reporting and the Design of Policies for Regulating Stochastic Pollution," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 241-257, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Alfred Endres & Bianca Rundshagen, 2012. "Escalating penalties: a supergame approach," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 29-49, March.

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