What is a Gang and Why Does the Law Care?
AbstractThe economic theory of optimal punishments states that the expected penalty for a crime ought to be equal (or at least proportional) to the social harm caused by the act. The Criminal Codes in both Canada and the United States allow for criminals to be penalized to a greater degree if they are a member of a gang. According to the economic theory, this would be optimal if either: 1) the social harm from a criminal act is greater for a gang member than for an independent criminal, or 2) the probability of conviction is lower for a gang member. We examine the extent to which both of these possibilities are true and use the findings to develop a (perhaps improved) definition of a gang. Classification-JEL K14, K42
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University in its series Discussion Papers with number dp08-04.
Date of creation: Sep 2008
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Postal: Working Paper Coordinator, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6, Canada
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
- K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
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