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Credible Criminal Enforcement

  • Matthew Baker


  • Thomas Miceli


Economic models of crime and punishment implicitly assume that the government can credibly commit to the fines, sentences, and apprehension rates it has chosen. We study the government's problem when credibility is an issue. We find that several of the standard predictions of the economic model of crime and punishment are robust to commitment, but that credibility may in some cases result in lower apprehension rates, and hence a higher crime rate, compared to the static version of the model.

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Article provided by Springer in its journal European Journal of Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 20 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
Pages: 5-15

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Handle: RePEc:kap:ejlwec:v:20:y:2005:i:1:p:5-15
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  1. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 1999. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," NBER Working Papers 6993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Robin W. Boadway & Nicolas Marceau, 1993. "Time-Consistent Criminal Sanctions," Working Papers 883, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  3. Winand Emons, 2002. "Subgame Perfect Punishment for Repeat Offenders," Diskussionsschriften dp0211, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  4. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  5. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
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