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Some reflections on the economics of prosecutors: Mandatory vs. selective prosecution

  • Garoupa, Nuno

Mandatory prosecution is inefficient according to legal economists. We argue that when prosecutors are fairly insulated from their performance or are highly risk-averse mandatory prosecution is better than selective prosecution. This result has important implications for comparative law. We use our findings to provide a positive explanation for the stylized fact that mandatory prosecution generally prevails in civil law jurisdictions whereas selective prosecution is typical of common law jurisdictions.

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

Volume (Year): 29 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 25-28

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Handle: RePEc:eee:irlaec:v:29:y:2009:i:1:p:25-28
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/irle

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  1. Anne Van Aaken & Eli Salzberger & Stefan Voigt, 2004. "The Prosecution of Public Figures and the Separation of Powers. Confusion within the Executive Branch -- A Conceptual Framework," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 261-280, 09.
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  3. Froeb, Luke M. & Kobayashi, Bruce H., 2001. "Evidence production in adversarial vs. inquisitorial regimes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 267-272, February.
  4. Shepherd, Joanna M, 2002. "Police, Prosecutors, Criminals, and Determinate Sentencing: The Truth about Truth-in-Sentencing Laws," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(2), pages 509-34, October.
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  8. Anne van Aaken & Lars P. Feld & Stefan Voigt, 2008. "Power over Prosecutors Corrupts Politicians: Cross Country Evidence Using a New Indicator," CESifo Working Paper Series 2245, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. David Bjerk, 2004. "Making the Crime Fit the Penalty: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion Under Mandatory Minimum Sentencing," Department of Economics Working Papers 2004-12, McMaster University.
  10. Boylan, Richard T & Long, Cheryl X, 2005. "Salaries, Plea Rates, and the Career Objectives of Federal Prosecutors," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(2), pages 627-51, October.
  11. William M. Landes, 1974. "An Economic Analysis of the Courts," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 164-214 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Boari, Nicola & Fiorentini, Gianluca, 2001. "An economic analysis of plea bargaining: the incentives of the parties in a mixed penal system," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 213-231, June.
  13. Eric Rasmusen & Manu Raghav & Mark Ramseyer, 2009. "Convictions versus Conviction Rates: The Prosecutor's Choice," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 47-78.
  14. Parisi, Francesco, 2002. "Rent-seeking through litigation: adversarial and inquisitorial systems compared," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 193-216, August.
  15. Boylan, Richard T, 2004. "Salaries, Turnover, and Performance in the Federal Criminal Justice System," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(1), pages 75-92, April.
  16. Richard T. Boylan, 2005. "What Do Prosecutors Maximize? Evidence from the Careers of U.S. Attorneys," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 379-402.
  17. Nuno Garoupa & Frank H Stephen, 2008. "Why plea-bargaining fails to achieve results in so many criminal justice systems: A new framework for assessment," Working Papers 2008-02, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales.
  18. Malcolm B. Coate & Andrew N. Kleit, 1998. "Does it matter that the prosecutor is also the judge? The administrative complaint process at the Federal Trade Commission," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(1), pages 1-11.
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