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Some reflections on the economics of prosecutors: Mandatory v selective prosecution

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  • Nuno Garoupa

    ()
    (University of Illinois and IMDEA Social Sciences)

Abstract

Mandatory prosecution is inefficient according to legal economists. We argue that when prosecutors are fairly insulated from their performance or are highly risk averse mandatory prosecution is better than selective prosecution. This result has important implications for comparative law since mandatory prosecution generally prevails in civil law jurisdictions whereas selective prosecution is typical of common law jurisdictions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales in its series Working Papers with number 2008-04.

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Date of creation: 07 Feb 2008
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Publication status: Published in International Review of Law and Economics
Handle: RePEc:imd:wpaper:wp2008-04

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Keywords: prosecutors; mandatory prosecution; selective prosecution; civil law; common law;

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  1. Reinganum, Jennifer F., 1986. "Plea Bargaining and Prosecutorial Discretion," Working Papers 616, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  2. 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.
  3. Anne van Aaken & Eli Salzberger & Stefan Voigt, 2003. "The Prosecution of Public Figures and the Separation of Powers: Confusion within the Executive Branch. A Conceptual Framework," ICER Working Papers 32-2003, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  4. Froeb, Luke M. & Kobayashi, Bruce H., 2001. "Evidence production in adversarial vs. inquisitorial regimes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 267-272, February.
  5. Shepherd, Joanna M, 2002. "Police, Prosecutors, Criminals, and Determinate Sentencing: The Truth about Truth-in-Sentencing Laws," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(2), pages 509-34, October.
  6. 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.
  7. Malcolm B. Coate & Andrew N. Kleit, 1998. "Does it matter that the prosecutor is also the judge? The administrative complaint process at the Federal Trade Commission," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(1), pages 1-11.
  8. Hyun Song Shin, 1998. "Adversarial and Inquisitorial Procedures in Arbitration," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(2), pages 378-405, Summer.
  9. Anne van Aaken & Lars P. Feld & Stefan Voigt, 2008. "Power over Prosecutors Corrupts Politicians: Cross Country Evidence Using a New Indicator," MAGKS Papers on Economics 200801, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  10. Manu Raghav, 2006. "Why do budgets received by state prosecutors vary across districts in the United States?," Caepr Working Papers 2006-018, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  11. 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.
  12. Nuno Garoupa & Frank H Stephen, 2008. "Why plea-bargaining fails to achieve results in so many criminal justice systems: A new framework for assessment," Working Papers 2008-02, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales.
  13. Bjerk, David, 2005. "Making the Crime Fit the Penalty: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion under Mandatory Minimum Sentencing," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(2), pages 591-625, October.
  14. Boari, Nicola & Fiorentini, Gianluca, 2001. "An economic analysis of plea bargaining: the incentives of the parties in a mixed penal system," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 213-231, June.
  15. Parisi, Francesco, 2002. "Rent-seeking through litigation: adversarial and inquisitorial systems compared," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 193-216, August.
  16. Palumbo, Giuliana, 2006. "Optimal duplication of effort in advocacy systems," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 112-128, May.
  17. Boylan, Richard T, 2004. "Salaries, Turnover, and Performance in the Federal Criminal Justice System," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(1), pages 75-92, April.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay & Bryan C McCannon, 2010. "Prosecutorial Retention: Signaling by Trial," Discussion Papers 10-11, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
  2. Matteo Rizzolli & Margherita Saraceno, 2013. "Better that ten guilty persons escape: punishment costs explain the standard of evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 155(3), pages 395-411, June.
  3. Echazu, Luciana & Garoupa, Nuno, 2012. "Why not adopt a loser-pays-all rule in criminal litigation?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 233-241.

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