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Penalty Enhancement for Hate Crimes: An Economic Analysis

  • Dhammika Dharmapala
  • Nuno Garoupa

This article develops an economic analysis of penalty enhancements for bias-motivated (or "hate") crimes. Our model allows potential offenders' benefits from a crime to depend on the victim's group identity, and assumes that potential victims have the opportunity to undertake socially costly victimization avoidance activities. We derive the result that a pattern of crimes disproportionately targeting an identifiable group leads to greater social harm (even when the harm to an individual victim from a bias-motivated crime is identical to that from an equivalent non--hate crime). In addition, we consider a number of other issues related to hate crime laws. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal American Law and Economics Review.

Volume (Year): 6 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 185-207

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Handle: RePEc:oup:amlawe:v:6:y:2004:i:1:p:185-207
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  1. Polinsky, A Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1999. "On the Disutility and Discounting of Imprisonment and the Theory of Deterrence," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 1-16, January.
  2. Nuno Garoupa, 2001. "Optimal law enforcement when victims are rational players," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 231-242, November.
  3. Steven Shavell & A. Mitchell Polinsky, 2000. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 45-76, March.
  4. Shavell, Steven, 1987. "The Optimal Use of Nonmonetary Sanctions as a Deterrent," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 584-92, September.
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