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Optimal Law Enforcement with Self-Reporting of Behavior

  • Kaplow, Louis
  • Shavell, Steven

Self-reporting--the reporting by parties of their own behavior to an enforcement authority--is a commonly observed aspect of law enforcement, such as in the context of environmental and safety regulation. The authors add self-reporting to the model of the control of harmful externalities through probabilistic law enforcement and they characterize the optimal scheme. Self-reporting offers two advantages over schemes without self-reporting: enforcement resources are saved because individuals who report their harmful acts need not be detected and risk is reduced because individuals who report their behavior bear certain rather than uncertain sanctions. Copyright 1994 by University of Chicago Press.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 102 (1994)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 583-606

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:102:y:1994:i:3:p:583-606
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  1. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  2. Scotchmer, Suzanne, 1987. "Audit Classes and Tax Enforcement Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 229-33, May.
  3. Border, Kim C & Sobel, Joel, 1987. "Samurai Accountant: A Theory of Auditing and Plunder," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 525-40, October.
  4. Reinganum, Jennifer F. & Wilde, Louis L., 1985. "Income tax compliance in a principal-agent framework," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 1-18, February.
  5. Robert Townsend, 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Staff Report 45, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. Stigler, George J, 1970. "The Optimum Enforcement of Laws," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(3), pages 526-36, May-June.
  7. Mookherjee, Dilip & Png, I P L, 1990. "Enforcement Costs and the Optimal Progressivity of Income Taxes," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 410-31, Fall.
  8. Ronald A. Dye, 1986. "Optimal Monitoring Policies in Agencies," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(3), pages 339-350, Autumn.
  9. Mookherjee, Dilip & Png, Ivan, 1989. "Optimal Auditing, Insurance, and Redistribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(2), pages 399-415, May.
  10. Polinsky, Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1979. "The Optimal Tradeoff between the Probability and Magnitude of Fines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(5), pages 880-91, December.
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