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Punishing the Innocent along with the Guilty: The Economics of Individual versus Group Punishment

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  • Thomas J. Miceli

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Kathleen Segerson

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

Standard models of law enforcement involve the apprehension and punishment of a single suspect, but in many contexts, punishment is actually imposed on an entire group known to contain the offender. The advantages of .group punishment. are that the offender is punished with certainty and detection costs are saved. The disadvantage is that innocent individuals are punished. We compare individual and group punishment when social welfare depends on fairness, and when it depends on deterrence. We show that group punishment may dominate in the former case if the detection technology is ineffective but never in the latter case. We discuss our results in the context of several examples.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2004-37.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2004-37

Note: We acknowledge the insightful comments and suggestions of Nuno Garoupa and Steven Shavell.
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Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/
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Keywords: Group punishment; Law enforcement;

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  1. Harris, John R, 1970. "On the Economics of Law and Order," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(1), pages 165-74, Jan.-Feb..
  2. Nuno Garoupa, 2000. "Corporate criminal law and organization incentives: a managerial perspective," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(6), pages 243-252.
  3. Miceli, Thomas J., 1991. "Optimal criminal procedure: Fairness and deterrence," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 3-10, May.
  4. Varian, H.R., 1989. "Monitoring Agents With Other Agents," Papers 89-18, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  5. Shavell, Steven, 1985. "Uncertainty over Causation and the Determination of Civil Liability," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(3), pages 587-609, October.
  6. 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.
  7. Peter S. Menell, 1991. "The Limitations of Legal Institutions for Addressing Environmental Risks," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 93-113, Summer.
  8. Segerson, Kathleen, 1988. "Uncertainty and incentives for nonpoint pollution control," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 87-98, March.
  9. Xepapadeas, A. P., 1991. "Environmental policy under imperfect information: Incentives and moral hazard," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 113-126, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Mourad Ali & Patrick Rio, 2009. "Deterrence vs. Efficiency To Regulate Nonpoint Source Pollution," Working Papers 09-22, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Dec 2009.
  2. Nuno Garoupa & Jonathan Klick & Francesco Parisi, 2006. "A law and economics perspective on terrorism," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 147-168, July.
  3. Thomas J. Miceli, 2013. "Collective Responsibility," Working papers 2013-23, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  4. Camacho-Cuena, Eva & Requate, Till, 2012. "The regulation of non-point source pollution and risk preferences: An experimental approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 179-187.
  5. Rousseau, Sandra, 2009. "The use of warnings in the presence of errors," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 191-201, September.
  6. Fatas, Enrique & Morales, Antonio J. & Ubeda, Paloma, 2010. "Blind justice: An experimental analysis of random punishment in team production," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 358-373, June.

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