The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law
AbstractThis article surveys the theory of the public enforcement of law -- the use of public agents (inspectors, tax auditors, police, prosecutors) to detect and to sanction violators of legal rules. We first present the basic elements of the theory, focusing on the probability of imposition of sanctions, the magnitude and form of sanctions, and the rule of liability. We then examine a variety of extensions of the central theory, concerning accidental harms, costs of imposing fines, errors, general enforcement, marginal deterrence, the principal-agent relationship, settlements, self-reporting, repeat offenders, imperfect knowledge about the probability and magnitude of fines, and incapacitation.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6993.
Date of creation: Mar 1999
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Publication status: published as Journal of Economic Literature, Vol. 38, no. 1 (March 2000): 45-76.
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- K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
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