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Plea Bargaining with Budgetary Constraints

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Abstract

In this paper, we construct a simple model that illustrates a perverse effect associated with plea bargaining in which an increase in sanctions can lead to reduced deterrence. This finding is derived from the interaction of binding budgetary constraints and plea bargaining. In an environment with these institutional features, higher sanctions are not always optimal when resources are limited, even if such sanctions are costless. Such potential phenomena may be useful in explaining the fact that many states have introduced limitations on plea bargaining. Career-concerned prosecutors are necessary for such a result to be present.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University in its series Discussion Papers with number dp07-07.

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Length: 18
Date of creation: May 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sfu:sfudps:dp07-07

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Postal: Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
Phone: (778)782-3508
Fax: (778)782-5944
Web page: http://www.sfu.ca/economics.html
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Postal: Working Paper Coordinator, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
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Web: http://www.sfu.ca/economics/research/publications.html

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Keywords: Plea Bargaining; Budget Constraint; Crime; Prosecutor;

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References

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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. William M. Landes, 1974. "Legality and Reality: Some Evidence on Criminal Procedure," NBER Working Papers 0040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. George J. Stigler, 1974. "The Optimum Enforcement of Laws," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 55-67 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. James Andreoni, 1991. "Reasonable Doubt and the Optimal Magnitude of Fines: Should the Penalty Fit the Crime?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(3), pages 385-395, Autumn.
  5. 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.
  6. Bar-Gill, Oren & Gazal Ayal, Oren, 2006. "Plea Bargains Only for the Guilty," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(1), pages 353-64, April.
  7. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 2005. "The Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," Discussion Papers 05-004, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  8. Thomas Miceli, 2007. "The Economics of Criminal Procedure," Working papers 2007-24, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  9. Eric Rasmusen & Manu Raghav, & Mark Ramseyer, 2008. "Convictions versus Conviction Rates: The Prosecutor’s Choice," Working Papers 2008-16, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  10. George L. Priest & Benjamin Klein, 1984. "The Selection of Disputes for Litigation," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 1-56, January.
  11. Baker, Scott & Mezzetti, Claudio, 2001. "Prosecutorial Resources, Plea Bargaining, and the Decision to Go to Trial," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(1), pages 149-67, April.
  12. 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.
  13. J. Mark Ramseyer & Eric Rasmusen, 1999. "Why Is the Japanese Conviction Rate So High?," Law and Economics 9907001, EconWPA.
  14. Isaac Ehrlich, 1996. "Crime, Punishment, and the Market for Offenses," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 43-67, Winter.
  15. 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.
  16. Grossman, Gene M & Katz, Michael L, 1983. "Plea Bargaining and Social Welfare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 749-57, September.
  17. Mookherjee, Dilip & Png, I P L, 1994. "Marginal Deterrence in Enforcement of Law," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 1039-66, October.
  18. Arun S. Malik, 1990. "Avoidance, Screening and Optimum Enforcement," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(3), pages 341-353, Autumn.
  19. Levitt, Steven D. & Miles, Thomas J., 2007. "Empirical Study of Criminal Punishment," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
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Cited by:
  1. Marceau, Nicolas & Mongrain, Steeve, 1999. "Dissuader le crime : un survol," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 75(1), pages 123-147, mars-juin.

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