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Escalating penalties for repeat offenders

  • Emons, Winand

Agents may commit a crime twice. The act is inefficient so that the agents are to be deterred. Even if an agent is law abiding, she may still commit the act accidentally. The agents are wealth constrained. The government seeks to minimize the probability of apprehension. If the benefit from the crime is small, the optimal sanction scheme is decreasing in the number of offenses. By contrast, if the benefit is large, sanctions are increasing in the number of offenses. Increasing sanctions do not make the criminal track less attractive; they make being honest more attractive.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Review of Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 27 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 170-178

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Handle: RePEc:eee:irlaec:v:27:y:2007:i:2:p:170-178
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  1. Baik, Kyung Hwan & Kim, In-Gyu, 2001. "Optimal punishment when individuals may learn deviant values," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 271-285, September.
  2. Emons, Winand, 2003. "A note on the optimal punishment for repeat offenders," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 253-259, September.
  3. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1980. "On an anomaly of the deterrent effect of punishment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 89-94.
  4. Burnovski, Moshe & Safra, Zvi, 1994. "Deterrence effects of sequential punishment policies: Should repeat offenders be more severely punished?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 341-350, September.
  5. Winand Emons, 2002. "Subgame Perfect Punishment for Repeat Offenders," Diskussionsschriften dp0211, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  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. Stigler, George J, 1970. "The Optimum Enforcement of Laws," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(3), pages 526-36, May-June.
  8. Garoupa, Nuno, 1997. " The Theory of Optimal Law Enforcement," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(3), pages 267-95, September.
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