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State Liability for Wrongful Conviction: Incentive Effects on Crime Levels

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  • Vincy Fon
  • Hans-Bernd Schäfer

Abstract

Wrongful convictions may increase the level of crime over the ideal case of their absence. The problem of wrongful conviction is most serious in areas where crime is endemic and for certain groups of citizens who are stereotyped. State liability mitigates this problem; compensating the wrongfully convicted induces some individuals not to commit crimes, thereby leading to a lower crime level. However, state liability may distort the behavior of judges if the welfare of judges is inversely related to compensation for wrongful conviction. We address policy implications that minimize such distortions.

Suggested Citation

  • Vincy Fon & Hans-Bernd Schäfer, 2007. "State Liability for Wrongful Conviction: Incentive Effects on Crime Levels," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 163(2), pages 269-284, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(200706)163:2_269:slfwci_2.0.tx_2-3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Doménech, Gabriel & Puchades, Miguel, 2015. "Compensating acquitted pre-trial detainees," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 167-177.
    2. Matteo Rizzolli & Luca Stanca, 2012. "Judicial Errors and Crime Deterrence: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(2), pages 311-338.
    3. Murat C. Mungan & Jonathan Klick, 2016. "Reducing False Guilty Pleas and Wrongful Convictions through Exoneree Compensation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(1), pages 173-189.
    4. Echazu, Luciana & Garoupa, Nuno, 2012. "Why not adopt a loser-pays-all rule in criminal litigation?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 233-241.
    5. Hans-Bernd Schäfer & Ram Singh, 2017. "Takings of Land by Self-interested Governments Economic Analysis of Eminent Domain," Working papers 281, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
    6. Matteo Rizzolli & Margherita Saraceno, 2009. "Better that X guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer," Working Papers 168, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2009.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K10 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - General (Constitutional Law)
    • K13 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Tort Law and Product Liability; Forensic Economics
    • K49 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Other

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