Judicial Errors and Crime Deterrence: Theory and Experimental Evidence
AbstractThe standard economic theory of crime deterrence predicts that the conviction of an innocent (type-I error) is as detrimental to deterrence as the acquittal of a guilty individual (type-II error). In this paper, we qualify this result theoretically, showing that in the presence of risk aversion, loss-aversion, or differential sensitivity to procedural fairness, type-I errors can have a larger effect on deterrence than type-II errors. We test these predictions with an experiment where participants make a decision on whether to steal from other individuals, being subject to different probabilities of judicial errors. The results indicate that both types of judicial errors have a large and significant impact on deterrence, but these effects are not symmetric. An increase in the probability of type-I errors has a larger negative impact on deterrence than an equivalent increase in the probability of type-II errors. This asymmetry is largely explained by risk aversion and, to a lesser extent, type-I error aversion.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 170.
Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2009
Date of revision: Aug 2009
Judicial errors; criminal procedure; procedural fairness; experimental economics; law and economics; crime; deterrence;
Other versions of this item:
- Matteo Rizzolli & Luca Stanca, 2012. "Judicial Errors and Crime Deterrence: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(2), pages 311 - 338.
- C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
- K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
- K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process
- K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-09-11 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2009-09-11 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-EXP-2009-09-11 (Experimental Economics)
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