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Self-Reporting in Optimal Law Enforcement When Violators Have Heterogeneous Probabilities of Apprehension

  • Innes, Robert

Laws often encourage violators to self-report their crimes rather than subject themselves to probabilistic law enforcement. This paper studies the merits of self-reporting when violators otherwise face heterogeneous probabilities of apprehension. In this setting, an optimal enforcement regime does not elicit self-reporting by all violators. However, even when self-reporting enjoys none of the advantages identified elsewhere, efficiency can often be enhanced by inducing some violators those with a sufficiently high risk of apprehension to self-report. By offering a lower sanction to violators who are excessively penalized, the self-reporting option provides more efficient incentives for these individuals to avoid criminal conduct. Copyright 2000 by the University of Chicago.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/468071
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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Legal Studies.

Volume (Year): 29 (2000)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 287-300

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:29:y:2000:i:1:p:287-300
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLS/

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