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Optimal Deterrence with Legal Defense Expenditure

  • Hugh Gravelle

    ()

    (Centre for Health Economics, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, UK.)

  • Nuno Garoupa

    ()

    (Department d'Economia i Empresa, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27, 08005 Barcelona, Spain.)

Legal defense expenditure by honest and dishonest accused can increase or reduce the amount of crime, and deterrence can decrease when punishment is increased. Unregulated expenditure of innocent and guilty defendants is inefficient whether or not there is a direct social harm from type I and II errors. The circumstances in which the optimal fine bankrupts convicted dishonest or honest defendants, regulation to limit defense expenditure and a tax-financed public defender system are also investigated. Copyright 2002, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.

Volume (Year): 40 (2002)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 366-379

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Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:40:y:2002:i:3:p:366-379
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  1. Lott, John R, Jr, 1987. "Should the Wealthy Be Able to "Buy Justice"?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(6), pages 1307-16, December.
  2. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1982. "The optimum enforcement of laws and the concept of justice: A positive analysis," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 3-27, June.
  3. 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 618-21, June.
  4. Louis Kaplow & Steven Shavell, 1989. "Legal Advice about Acts Already Commited," NBER Working Papers 3005, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Miceli, Thomas J., 1991. "Optimal criminal procedure: Fairness and deterrence," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 3-10, 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 880-91, December.
  7. Dnes, Antony W, 1996. "An Economic Analysis of the BSE Scare," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 43(3), pages 343-48, August.
  8. 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.
  9. Png, I. P. L., 1986. "Optimal subsidies and damages in the presence of judicial error," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 101-105, June.
  10. Garoupa, Nuno, 1997. " The Theory of Optimal Law Enforcement," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(3), pages 267-95, September.
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