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Optimal magnitude and probability of fines

  • Garoupa, Nuno

The economic literature on crime and punishment focuses on the trade-off between probability and severity of punishment, and suggests that detection probability and fines are substitutes. In this paper it is shown that, in presence of substantial underdeterrence caused by costly detection and punishment, these instruments may become complements. When offenders are poor, the deterrent value of monetary sanctions is low. Thus, the government does not invest a lot in detection. If offenders are rich, however, the deterrent value of monetary sanctions is high, so it is more profitable to prosecute them.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V64-43SV5BB-B/2/1693999435fa951ca8ce8d23af16f891
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 45 (2001)
Issue (Month): 9 (October)
Pages: 1765-1771

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:45:y:2001:i:9:p:1765-1771
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer

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  1. Louis Kaplow, 1989. "The Optimal Probability and Magnitude of Fines for Acts that Definitely are Undesirable," NBER Working Papers 3008, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 1990. "A Note on Optimal Fines When Wealth Varies Among Individuals," NBER Working Papers 3232, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Shavell, Steven, 1993. "The Optimal Structure of Law Enforcement," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 255-87, April.
  4. 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.
  5. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  6. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 1999. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," NBER Working Papers 6993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Garoupa, Nuno, 1997. " The Theory of Optimal Law Enforcement," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(3), pages 267-95, September.
  8. Lewin, Jeff L. & Trumbull, William N., 1990. "The social value of crime?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 271-284, December.
  9. Shavell, Steven, 1987. "The Optimal Use of Nonmonetary Sanctions as a Deterrent," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 584-92, September.
  10. Polinsky, A Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1992. "Enforcement Costs and the Optimal Magnitude and Probability of Fines," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 133-48, April.
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