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Breaking the law when others do: A model of law enforcement with neighborhood externalities

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  • Ferrer, Rosa

Abstract

A standard assumption in the economics of law enforcement is that the probability of a violator being punished depends only on the resources devoted to enforcement. However, it is often true that the productivity of enforcement resources decreases with the number of violators. In this paper, an individual who violates the law provides a positive externality for other offenders because the probability of being punished decreases with the number of individuals violating the law. This externality explains the existence of correlation between individuals' decisions to break a law. The model evaluates the implications when determining the socially optimal enforcement expenditure, focusing specifically on the case of neighborhood crime. In particular, using a parametrized functional form, I show that neighborhood externalities will enhance or impede enforcement, depending on the crime rate.

Suggested Citation

  • Ferrer, Rosa, 2010. "Breaking the law when others do: A model of law enforcement with neighborhood externalities," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 163-180, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:54:y:2010:i:2:p:163-180
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bjerk, David, 2010. "Thieves, thugs, and neighborhood poverty," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 231-246, November.
    2. repec:oup:jeurec:v:15:y:2017:i:2:p:245-295. is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Baumann Florian & Friehe Tim, 2016. "Competitive Pressure and Corporate Crime," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(2), pages 647-687, April.
    4. Galbiati, Roberto & Zanella, Giulio, 2012. "The tax evasion social multiplier: Evidence from Italy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(5), pages 485-494.
    5. Akçomak, İ. Semih & ter Weel, Bas, 2012. "The impact of social capital on crime: Evidence from the Netherlands," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 323-340.
    6. Robert Dur & Joël Van Der Weele, 2013. "Status-Seeking in Criminal Subcultures and the Double Dividend of Zero-Tolerance," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 15(1), pages 77-93, February.
    7. Nathan Berg & Jeong-Yoo Kim, 2015. "Quantity Restrictions with Imperfect Enforcement in an Overused Commons: Permissive Regulation to Reduce Overuse?," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 171(2), pages 308-329, June.
    8. Simundza, Daniel, 2014. "Criminal registries, community notification, and optimal avoidance," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 73-82.
    9. Baumann, Florian & Friehe, Tim, 2015. "Status concerns as a motive for crime?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 46-55.
    10. Liu, Xiaodong & Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves & Lee, Lung-Fei, 2011. "Criminal Networks: Who is the Key Player?," Research Papers in Economics 2011:7, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    11. Friehe, Tim & Miceli, Thomas J., 2015. "Focusing law enforcement when offenders can choose location," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 105-112.
    12. Eleonora Patacchini & Yves Zenou, 2012. "Juvenile Delinquency and Conformism," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(1), pages 1-31.
    13. Daron Acemoglu & Matthew O. Jackson, 2017. "Social Norms and the Enforcement of Laws," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 245-295.
    14. Jacek Lewkowicz & Katarzyna Metelska-Szaniawska, 2016. "De jure and de facto institutions – disentangling the interrelationships," Working Papers 2016-29, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    15. van der Weele Joël, 2012. "Beyond the State of Nature: Introducing Social Interactions in the Economic Model of Crime," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(2), pages 401-432, October.

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