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Private Law Enforcement, Fine Sharing, and Tax Collection: Theory and Historical Evidence

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  • Metin M. Cosgel

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Haggay Etkes

    (Bank of Israel)

  • Thomas J. Miceli

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

This paper contributes to the literature on private law enforcement by proposing a novel solution to the problem of underenforcement by monopolistic enforcers. Monopolistic enforcers underinvest in fine collection because, by maximizing net expected revenue, they ignore the social benefits of deterrence. We show that this problem can be partially resolved by combining the tasks of law enforcement with tax collection because a joint enforcer-collector will have an interest in reducing the crime rate in order to maximize his income from taxes. In support of the theory, we discuss two historical examples of this practice: decentralized law enforcement under European feudalism, and centralized law enforcement in the Ottoman Empire.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2010-03.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2010-03

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Postal: University of Connecticut 341 Mansfield Road, Unit 1063 Storrs, CT 06269-1063
Phone: (860) 486-4889
Fax: (860) 486-4463
Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/
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Keywords: Criminal fines; deterrence; private law enforcement; tax collection;

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  1. Polinsky, A. Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 2001. "Corruption and optimal law enforcement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 1-24, July.
  2. Benson, Bruce L & Rasmussen, David W & Sollars, David L, 1995. " Police Bureaucracies, Their Incentives, and the War on Drugs," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 83(1-2), pages 21-45, April.
  3. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Nuno Garoupa & Daniel Klerman, 2002. "Optimal Law Enforcement with a Rent-Seeking Government," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 116-140, January.
  5. Besanko, D. & Spulber, D.F., 1988. "Delegated Law Enforcement And Noncooperative Behavior," Papers m8820, Southern California - Department of Economics.
  6. Stigler, George J, 1970. "The Optimum Enforcement of Laws," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(3), pages 526-36, May-June.
  7. Pollock, Sir Frederick & Maitland, Frederic William, 1898. "History of English Law Before the Time of Edward I," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, edition 2, volume 2, number maitland1898b.
  8. Wheaton, William C., 2006. "Metropolitan fragmentation, law enforcement effort and urban crime," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 1-14, July.
  9. Pollock, Sir Frederick & Maitland, Frederic William, 1898. "History of English Law Before the Time of Edward I," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, edition 2, volume 1, number maitland1898a.
  10. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 2005. "The Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," Discussion Papers 05-004, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  11. Gary S. Becker & George J. Stigler, 1974. "Law Enforcement, Malfeasance, and Compensation of Enforcers," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1-18, January.
  12. Metin M. CoÅŸgel & Thomas J. Miceli, 2009. "Tax Collection in History," Public Finance Review, , vol. 37(4), pages 399-420, July.
  13. Garoupa Nuno & Klerman Daniel M., 2010. "Corruption and Private Law Enforcement: Theory and History," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 75-96, April.
  14. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
  15. Helsley, Robert W. & Strange, William C., 1999. "Gated Communities and the Economic Geography of Crime," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 80-105, July.
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