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On the deterrent effect of individual versus collective liability in criminal organizations

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  • Hauret, Laetitia
  • Langlais, Eric
  • Sonntag, Carine

Abstract

Our paper addresses the question of the deterrent effect of a monetary sanction associated to a collective rather than an individual liability, when crimes are realized within a hierarchical gang (defined as a criminal organization where the leader is a sleeping partner, and several agents are active partners in the illegal or criminal activity). We develop a model where the active gang members face contradictory incentives to commit a crime. On the one hand, public authorities try to deter each gang member by imposing sanctions; on the second, the leader of the gang try to keep his members enough active in the gang by threatening them of private sanctions. We show that sanctions based on individual liability are inefficient to deter gang’s members since the leader overreacts on the public sanctions. In contrast, we show that a regime of collective liability, allowing the judge to sanction the sleeping partner even if he hasn’t realized any crime himself, can reach enough deterrence of the members of the gang.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 14762.

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Date of creation: 21 Apr 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:14762

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Keywords: Gangs deterrence; individual and collective liability; optimal law enforcement;

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  1. Nuno Garoupa, 1997. "The economics of organized crime and optimal law enforcement," Economics Working Papers 246, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Dec 1997.
  2. Sylvaine PORET, 2005. "Structure verticale d’un réseau de distribution de drogues illicites et politique répressive optimale," Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) 2005043, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  3. Privileggi, Fabio & Marchese, Carla & Cassone, Alberto, 2001. "Agent's liability versus principal's liability when attitudes toward risk differ," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 181-195, June.
  4. Anne C. Case & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "The Company You Keep: The Effects of Family and Neighborhood on Disadvantaged Youths," NBER Working Papers 3705, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Garoupa, Nuno, 2007. "Optimal law enforcement and criminal organization," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 461-474, July.
  6. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  7. Edward E. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1738, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  8. Sah, Raaj K, 1991. "Social Osmosis and Patterns of Crime," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1272-95, December.
  9. Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2005. "Crime and Conformism," CEPR Discussion Papers 5331, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Abdala Mansour & Nicolas Marceau & Steeve Mongrain, 2006. "Gangs and Crime Deterrence," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(2), pages 315-339, October.
  11. Steven Shavell & A. Mitchell Polinsky, 2000. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 45-76, March.
  12. Konrad, Kai A. & Skaperdas, Stergios, 1997. "Credible threats in extortion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 23-39, May.
  13. Shavell, Steven, 1997. "The optimal level of corporate liability given the limited ability of corporations to penalize their employees," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 203-213, June.
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