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The Conspirator Dilemma: Introducing the "Trojan Horse" Enforcement Strategy


  • Yadlin Omri

    (Tel Aviv University, Law School)


The Trojan Horse enforcement mechanism turns law-breakers into law-enforcers by entrusting them with the right to file a private suit and to collect a fine from their accomplices. Unlike leniency or state witness programs, the Trojan Horse mechanism is not dependent on an effective public enforcement agency operating in the background. It positions conspirators in a prisoner dilemma at the very first stage of their conspiracy, long before public enforcers are on their tails, thus enabling the state to decriminalize certain conspiracies. As shown in this paper, the Trojan Horse mechanism has a (comparative) advantage in asymmetric settings, such as in the employment of illegal immigrants. Whereas fines and other criminal sanctions hardly deter empty-pocket lawbreakers such as illegal immigrants, the carrot this mechanism waves might lure illegal immigrants into suing their employers and leaving the country with a prize in their pockets. Thus, it provides a more humane enforcement mechanism than the prevailing ones, and creates a strong deterrent effect on employers who consider hiring illegal immigrants.

Suggested Citation

  • Yadlin Omri, 2006. "The Conspirator Dilemma: Introducing the "Trojan Horse" Enforcement Strategy," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 2(1), pages 25-43, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:rlecon:v:2:y:2006:i:1:n:2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kofman, Fred & Lawarree, Jacques, 1996. "A prisoner's dilemma model of collusion deterrence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 117-136, January.
    2. Kaplow, Louis & Shavell, Steven, 1994. "Optimal Law Enforcement with Self-Reporting of Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(3), pages 583-606, June.
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