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The Economics of Organized Crime and Optimal Law Enforcement

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  • Garoupa, Nuno

Abstract

This article extends the optimal law enforcement literature to organized crime. I model the criminal organization as a vertical structure where the principal extracts some rents from the agents through extortion. As long as extortion is a costless transfer from individuals to the criminal organization, not only the existence of extortion is social welfare improving because it makes engaging in a criminal offense less attractive but it also allows the government to reduce expenditures on law enforcement. When extortion is costly because the criminal organization resorts to threats and violence, the existence of extortion is social welfare diminishing and may lead to higher expenditures on law enforcement. Copyright 2000 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Garoupa, Nuno, 2000. "The Economics of Organized Crime and Optimal Law Enforcement," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 38(2), pages 278-288, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:38:y:2000:i:2:p:278-88
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bowles, Roger & Garoupa, Nuno, 1997. "Casual police corruption and the economics of crime," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 75-87, March.
    2. Dick, Andrew R., 1995. "When does organized crime pay? A transaction cost analysis," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 25-45, January.
    3. Garoupa, Nuno, 1997. " The Theory of Optimal Law Enforcement," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(3), pages 267-295, September.
    4. Isaac Ehrlich, 1996. "Crime, Punishment, and the Market for Offenses," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 43-67, Winter.
    5. Konrad, Kai A. & Skaperdas, Stergios, 1997. "Credible threats in extortion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 23-39, May.
    6. Polinsky, Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1979. "The Optimal Tradeoff between the Probability and Magnitude of Fines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(5), pages 880-891, December.
    7. Polinsky, A Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1991. "A Note on Optimal Fines When Wealth Varies among Individuals," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 618-621, June.
    8. Polinsky, A Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1992. "Enforcement Costs and the Optimal Magnitude and Probability of Fines," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 133-148, April.
    9. Skaperdas, S. & Syropoulos, C., 1993. "Gangs as Primitive States," Papers 92-93-02, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
    10. Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-921, September.
    11. Shavell, Steven, 1987. "A Model of Optimal Incapacitation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 107-110, May.
    12. repec:cup:apsrev:v:80:y:1986:i:02:p:471-487_18 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Bebchuk, Lucian Arye & Kaplow, Louis, 1993. "Optimal sanctions and differences in individuals' likelihood of avoiding detection," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 217-224, June.
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    JEL classification:

    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior

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