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Deterring repeat offenders with escalating penalty schedules: a Bayesian approach

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  • Stan Miles
  • Derek Pyne

Abstract

We model deterrence with costly punishment when criminals have different abilities. Abilities are unobserved by both criminals and the courts. Based on past successes, criminals update their priors on being high-ability criminals. Courts cannot observe a criminal’s total past offenses. They do know that criminals with more convictions were undeterred by previous penalties. Thus, they must have had more successes resulting in higher posterior probabilities of being high-ability criminals. Those with fewer convictions include more with lower posterior probabilities of being high-ability. Since they know that they are relatively more likely to be caught, they are deterred with lower penalties. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Stan Miles & Derek Pyne, 2015. "Deterring repeat offenders with escalating penalty schedules: a Bayesian approach," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 229-250, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:ecogov:v:16:y:2015:i:3:p:229-250
    DOI: 10.1007/s10101-015-0160-2
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    Cited by:

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    5. Miles Stan & Pyne Derek, 2017. "The Economics of Scams," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 1-18, March.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Deterrence; Crime; Recidivism; K4; D8;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

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