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Why Is Law Enforcement Decentralized?

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  • Guillaume Cheikbossian
  • Nicolas Marceau

Abstract

Law enforcement is decentralized. It is so despite documented interjurisdictional externalities which would justify its centralization. To explain this fact, we construct a political economy model of law enforcement. Under decentralization, law enforcement in each region is in accord with the preferences of regional citizens, but interjurisdictional externalities are neglected. Under centralization, law enforcement for all regions is chosen by a legislature of regional representatives which may take externalities into account. However, the majority rule applies for decisions made by the central legislature and this implies that the allocation of enforcement resources may be skewed in favour of those who belong to the required majority. We show that the choice between centralization and decentralization depends on the technology of law enforcement and the nature of the interjurisdictional externalities.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 0719.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0719

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Keywords: Crime; Law enforcement; Decentralization; Externalities;

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References

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  1. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 5026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jean Hindriks & Benjamin Lockwood, 2005. "Decentralization and Electoral Accountability: Incentives, Separation, and Voter Welfare," CESifo Working Paper Series 1509, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Nicolas Marceau, 1997. "Competition in Crime Deterrence," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(4), pages 844-54, November.
  4. Brian Jacob & Lars Lefgren & Enrico Moretti, 2004. "The Dynamics of Criminal Behavior: Evidence from Weather Shocks," NBER Working Papers 10739, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Koleman S. Strumpf & Felix Oberholzer-Gee, 2002. "Endogenous Policy Decentralization: Testing the Central Tenet of Economic Federalism," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 1-36, February.
  6. Marceau, Nicolas & Mongrain, Steeve, 2011. "Competition in law enforcement and capital allocation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 136-147, January.
  7. Lockwood, Ben, 1998. "Distributive Politics and the Benefits of Decentralisation," CSGR Working papers series 10/98, Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation (CSGR), University of Warwick.
  8. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," Penn CARESS Working Papers ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
  9. Jeffrey R. Kling & Jens Ludwig & Lawrence F. Katz, 2004. "Neighborhood Effects on Crime for Female and Male Youth: Evidence from a Randomized Housing Voucher Experiment," NBER Working Papers 10777, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
  11. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 2003. "Centralized versus decentralized provision of local public goods: a political economy approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2611-2637, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Libman, Alexander Mikhailovich, 2009. "Эндогенные Границы И Распределение Власти В Федерациях И Международных Сообществах
    [ENDOGENOUS BOUNDARIES AND DISTRIBUTION O
    ," MPRA Paper 16473, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Marceau, Nicolas, 2008. "La concurrence entre gouvernements est-elle bénéfique?," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 84(4), pages 365-390, Décembre.

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