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The Response of Criminals and Noncriminals to Fines

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  • Bar-Ilan, Avner
  • Sacerdote, Bruce

Abstract

We use traffic data from a series of experiments in Israel and San Francisco to examine how illegal behavior is deterred by higher fines and whether deterrence varies with personal characteristics such as criminal record, driving record, income, and age. We find that red-light running decreases sharply in response to an increase in the fine. The elasticity of violations with respect to the fine is larger for younger drivers and drivers with older cars. Criminals convicted of violent offenses or property offenses run more red lights on average but have the same elasticity as drivers without a criminal record. Within Israel, members of ethnic minority groups have the smallest elasticity with respect to a fine increase.

Suggested Citation

  • Bar-Ilan, Avner & Sacerdote, Bruce, 2004. "The Response of Criminals and Noncriminals to Fines," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(1), pages 1-17, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:y:2004:v:47:i:1:p:1-17
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/380471
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1975. "The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: A Question of Life and Death," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 397-417, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gregory DeAngelo & Gary Charness, 2012. "Deterrence, expected cost, uncertainty and voting: Experimental evidence," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 73-100, February.
    2. Ali al-Nowaihi & Sanjit Dhami, 2010. "Probability Weighting Functions," Discussion Papers in Economics 10/10, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
    3. Faisal Jamil & Eatzaz Ahmad, 2013. "An Economic Investigation of Corruption and Electricity Theft," PIDE-Working Papers 2013:92, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics.
    4. Michael S. Visser & William T. Harbaugh & Naci Mocan, 2006. "An Experimental Test of Criminal Behavior Among Juveniles and Young Adults," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2006-11, University of Oregon Economics Department.
    5. Motta, Alberto & Burlando, Alfredo, 2007. "Self reporting reduces corruption in law enforcement," MPRA Paper 5332, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 23 Jun 2007.
    6. Sarah Marx Quintanar, 2009. "Man vs. Machine: An Investigation of Speeding Ticket Disparities Based on Gender and Race," Departmental Working Papers 2009-16, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
    7. Sanjit Dhami & Ali al-Nowaihi, 2010. "The Behavioral Economics of Crime and Punishment," Discussion Papers in Economics 10/14, Department of Economics, University of Leicester, revised Jul 2010.
    8. Ali al-Nowaihi & Sanjit Dhami, 2010. "Composite Prospect Theory: A proposal to combine ‘prospect theory’ and ‘cumulative prospect theory’," Discussion Papers in Economics 10/11, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
    9. Narges Hajimoladarvish, 2017. "Very Low Probabilities in the Loss Domain," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance Theory, Springer;International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics (The Geneva Association), vol. 42(1), pages 41-58, March.
    10. George F. N. Shoukry, 2016. "Criminals' Response To Changing Crime Lucre," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(3), pages 1464-1483, July.
    11. Faisal Jamil & Eatzaz Ahmad, 2014. "An Empirical Study of Electricity Theft from Electricity Distribution Companies in Pakistan," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 53(3), pages 239-254.
    12. Sanjit Dhami & Ali al-Nowaihi, 2006. "Hang ’em with probability zero: Why does it not work?," Discussion Papers in Economics 06/14, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
    13. Lu, Fangwen & Zhang, Jinan & Perloff, Jeffrey M., 2016. "General and specific information in deterring traffic violations: Evidence from a randomized experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 97-107.
    14. Ali al-Nowaihi & Sanjit Dhami, 2010. "The Behavioral Economics of Insurance," Discussion Papers in Economics 10/12, Department of Economics, University of Leicester, revised Apr 2010.
    15. Curry, Philip A. & Klumpp, Tilman, 2009. "Crime, punishment, and prejudice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 73-84, February.
    16. Dionne, Georges & Liu, Ying, 2017. "Effects of Insurance Incentives on Road Safety: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in China," Working Papers 17-1, HEC Montreal, Canada Research Chair in Risk Management.

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