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What you don't see can't hurt you: an economic analysis of morality laws

  • Philip A. Curry
  • Steeve Mongrain

. Efficiency requires discretion by the individual who engages in such activities. When discretion is difficult to regulate directly, the activities can instead be proscribed, thereby giving individuals incentive to hide their actions from others. We find conditions for the first-best levels of consumption and hiding to be implementable. Since some level of activity is efficient, the optimal sanctions are not maximal.

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Article provided by Canadian Economics Association in its journal Canadian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 41 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 583-594

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Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:41:y:2008:i:2:p:583-594
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  1. Polinsky, A. Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1984. "The optimal use of fines and imprisonment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 89-99, June.
  2. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Michael Grossman, 2004. "The Economic Theory of Illegal Goods: The Case of Drugs," NBER Working Papers 10976, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kaplow, Louis, 1990. "A note on the optimal use of nonmonetary sanctions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 245-247, July.
  4. Jeffrey A. Miron & Jeffrey Zwiebel, 1995. "The Economic Case against Drug Prohibition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 175-192, Fall.
  5. Arun S. Malik, 1990. "Avoidance, Screening and Optimum Enforcement," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(3), pages 341-353, Autumn.
  6. James Andreoni, 1991. "Reasonable Doubt and the Optimal Magnitude of Fines: Should the Penalty Fit the Crime?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(3), pages 385-395, Autumn.
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