Marginal Deterrence in Enforcement of Law
The authors characterize optimal enforcement in a setting in which individuals can select among various levels of some activity, all of which are monitored at the same rate but may be prosecuted and punished at varying rates. For less harmful acts, marginal expected penalties ought to fall short of marginal harms caused. Indeed, some range of very minor acts should be legalized. For more harmful acts, whether marginal expected penalties should fall short of or exceed marginal harms depends on the balance between monitoring and prosecution/punishment costs. The authors also explore how the optimal enforcement policy varies with changes in these costs. Copyright 1994 by University of Chicago Press.
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- Gary S. Becker, 1974.
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National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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- James Andreoni, 1991. "Reasonable Doubt and the Optimal Magnitude of Fines: Should the Penalty Fit the Crime?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(3), pages 385-395, Autumn.
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- Roger B. Myerson, 1981. "Optimal Auction Design," Mathematics of Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 6(1), pages 58-73, February.
- Friedman, David & Sjostrom, William, 1993. "Hanged for a Sheep--The Economics of Marginal Deterrence," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 345-366, June. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
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