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Plea Bargaining and Prosecutorial Discretion


  • Reinganum, Jennifer F


A model of plea bargaining with asymmetric information is presented. The prosecutor's private information consists of the strength of the case, while the defendant's private information consists of h is guilt or innocence. In equilibrium, a fraction of cases are dismis sed because they are too likely to involve an innocent defendant; in the remaining cases, the prosecutor's offer of a sentence in exchange for a plea of guilty reveals the strength of the case. It is shown t hat unlimited prosecutorial discretion may be socially disadvantageou s since it carries with it the requirement of sequential rationality. Copyright 1988 by American Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Reinganum, Jennifer F, 1988. "Plea Bargaining and Prosecutorial Discretion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 713-728, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:78:y:1988:i:4:p:713-28

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nelson, Charles R & Kang, Heejoon, 1981. "Spurious Periodicity in Inappropriately Detrended Time Series," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 741-751, May.
    2. Gregory Mankiw, N. & Shapiro, Matthew D., 1985. "Trends, random walks, and tests of the permanent income hypothesis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 165-174, September.
    3. Romer, Christina D, 1986. "Is the Stabilization of the Postwar Economy a Figment of the Data?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 314-334, June.
    4. Mankiw, N Gregory & Miron, Jeffrey A & Weil, David N, 1987. "The Adjustment of Expectations to a Change in Regime: A Study of the Founding of the Federal Reserve," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 358-374, June.
    5. Hamilton, James D., 1987. "Monetary factors in the great depression," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 145-169, March.
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