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Does Crime Pay? A Classroom Demonstration of Monitoring and Enforcement


  • Lisa R. Anderson

    () (The College of William and Mary, Department of Economics)

  • Sarah L. Stafford

    () (The College of William and Mary, Department of Economics)


This article presents a classroom game in which students choose whether or not to comply with pollution regulations. By varying the level of monitoring and fines for noncompliance, the game shows students how the probability and severity of enforcement affects incentives for compliance. The game can be adapted for settings other than environmental regulation and can be used in a variety of classes including regulation, law and economics, environmental economics, public economics, or economics of crime classes. It can easily be conducted in a 50-minute class period.

Suggested Citation

  • Lisa R. Anderson & Sarah L. Stafford, 2006. "Does Crime Pay? A Classroom Demonstration of Monitoring and Enforcement," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 1016-1025, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:72:4:y:2006:p:1016-1025

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    References listed on IDEAS

    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.
    2. James Andreoni & Brian Erard & Jonathan Feinstein, 1998. "Tax Compliance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 818-860, June.
    3. Anderson, Lisa R & Stafford, Sarah L, 2003. "Punishment in a Regulatory Setting: Experimental Evidence from the VCM," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 91-110, July.
    4. Harrington, Winston, 1988. "Enforcement leverage when penalties are restricted," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 29-53, October.
    5. Block, Michael K & Gerety, Vernon E, 1995. "Some Experimental Evidence on Differences between Student and Prisoner Reactions to Monetary Penalties and Risk," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(1), pages 123-138, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. David T. Mitchell & Robert P. Rebelein & Patricia H. Schneider & Nicole B. Simpson & Eric Fisher, 2009. "A Classroom Experiment on Exchange Rate Determination with Purchasing Power Parity," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(2), pages 150-165, April.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A22 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - Undergraduate
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law


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