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Subgame-Perfect Punishment for Repeat Offenders

  • Winand Emons

First I show that for wealth-constrained agents who may commit an act twice the optimal sanctions are the offender's entire wealth for the first and zero for the second crime. Then I ask the question whether this decreasing sanction scheme is subgame perfect (time consistent), that is, does a rent-seeking government stick to this sanction scheme after the first crime has occurred. If the benefit and/or the harm from the crime are not too large, this is indeed the case; otherwise, equal sanctions for both crimes are optimal. (JEL D82, K47, K42) Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/ei/cbh076
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Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.

Volume (Year): 42 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 496-502

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Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:42:y:2004:i:3:p:496-502
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  1. Burnovski, Moshe & Safra, Zvi, 1994. "Deterrence effects of sequential punishment policies: Should repeat offenders be more severely punished?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 341-350, September.
  2. Robin W. Boadway & Michael Keen, 1993. "Evasion and Time Consistency in the Taxation of Capital Income," Working Papers 890, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  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. Nuno Garoupa & Daniel Klerman, 2002. "Optimal Law Enforcement with a Rent-Seeking Government," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 116-140, January.
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