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A Theory of Optimal Random Crackdowns

Author

Listed:
  • Jan Eeckhout
  • Nicola Persico
  • Petra E. Todd

Abstract

An incentives based theory of policing is developed which can explain the phenomenon of random "crackdowns," i.e., intermittent periods of high interdiction/ surveillance. For a variety of police objective functions, random crackdowns can be part of the optimal monitoring strategy. We demonstrate support for implications of the crackdown theory using traffic data gathered by the Belgian Police Department and use the model to estimate the deterrence effect of additional resources spent on speeding interdiction. (JEL K42, R41)

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Eeckhout & Nicola Persico & Petra E. Todd, 2010. "A Theory of Optimal Random Crackdowns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 1104-1135, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:100:y:2010:i:3:p:1104-35 Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.100.3.1104
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John Knowles & Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, 2001. "Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(1), pages 203-232, February.
    2. Orley Ashenfelter & Michael Greenstone, 2004. "Using Mandated Speed Limits to Measure the Value of a Statistical Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages 226-267, February.
    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. Edward P. Lazear, 2004. "Speeding, Tax Fraud, and Teaching to the Test," NBER Working Papers 10932, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Parkash Chander & Louis L. Wilde, 1998. "A General Characterization of Optimal Income Tax Enforcement," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(1), pages 165-183.
    6. 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.
    7. Polinsky, Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1979. "The Optimal Tradeoff between the Probability and Magnitude of Fines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 880-891.
    8. Rafael Di Tella & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2004. "Do Police Reduce Crime? Estimates Using the Allocation of Police Forces After a Terrorist Attack," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 115-133.
    9. Peltzman, Sam, 1975. "The Effects of Automobile Safety Regulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(4), pages 677-725, August.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sebastian Galiani & Ivan Lopez Cruz & Gustavo Torrens, 2016. "Stirring Up a Hornets' Nest: Geographic Distribution of Crime," NBER Working Papers 22166, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Zhixin Dai & Fabio Galeotti & Marie Claire Villeval, 2017. "The efficiency of crackdowns: a lab-in-the-field experiment in public transportations," Theory and Decision, Springer, pages 249-271.
    3. Sylvain Chassang & Gerard Padro i Miquel, 2014. "Corruption, Intimidation, and Whistleblowing: A Theory of Inference from Unverifiable Reports," Working Papers 062-2014, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Econometric Research Program..
    4. Gregory DeAngelo & Gary Charness, 2012. "Deterrence, expected cost, uncertainty and voting: Experimental evidence," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 73-100, February.
    5. Dai, Zhixin & Hogarth, Robin M. & Villeval, Marie Claire, 2015. "Ambiguity on audits and cooperation in a public goods game," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 146-162.
    6. Sylvain Chassang & Gerard Padró i Miquel, 2014. "Corruption, Intimidation, and Whistle-blowing: a Theory of Inference from Unverifiable Reports," NBER Working Papers 20315, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Gregory DeAngelo & R. Kaj Gittings & Amanda Ross & Annie Walker, 2016. "Police Bias in the Enforcement of Drug Crimes: Evidence from Low Priority Laws," Working Papers 16-01, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    8. D'Este, Rocco, 2014. "The Effect of Stolen Goods Markets on Crime: Evidence from a Quasi - Natural Experiment," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1040, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    9. Dechenaux, Emmanuel & Samuel, Andrew, 2014. "Announced vs. surprise inspections with tipping-off," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 167-183.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise

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