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Bayesian Juries and The Limits to Deterrence

Author

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  • Ezra Friedman

    (Yale University)

  • Abraham Wickelgren

    (Federal Trade Commission)

Abstract

We consider a model of crime with rational Bayesian Jurors. We find that if jurors are not perfectly informed, even when there is no limit to the size of the punishment that can be imposed, it is not possible to deter all crime. There is a finite lower bound on the crime rate which results from the difficulties in achieving a conviction with imperfect evidence and very low crime rates. Crime can not be reduced below this rate by increasing the penalty, but the lower bound can be decreased by improving the quality of evidence presented to jurors, or by increasing the threshold of evidence necessary for prosecution.

Suggested Citation

  • Ezra Friedman & Abraham Wickelgren, "undated". "Bayesian Juries and The Limits to Deterrence," Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy Working Paper Series yale_lepp-1008, Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:bep:yaloln:yale_lepp-1008
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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.
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    8. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Marselli, Riccardo & McCannon, Bryan C. & Vannini, Marco, 2015. "Bargaining in the shadow of arbitration," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 356-368.
    2. Yves Oytana, 2014. "The Judicial Expert in a Two-Tier Hierarchy," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 170(3), pages 537-570, September.
    3. Guha Brishti, 2020. "Pretrial Beliefs and Verdict Accuracy: Costly Juror Effort and Free Riding," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 20(2), pages 1-9, June.
    4. Lando, Henrik & Mungan, Murat C., 2018. "The effect of type-1 error on deterrence," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 1-8.
    5. McCannon, Bryan C., 2010. "Homicide trials in Classical Athens," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 46-51, March.
    6. Campos, Sergio J. & Cotton, Christopher S. & Li, Cheng, 2015. "Deterrence effects under Twombly: On the costs of increasing pleading standards in litigation," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 61-71.
    7. Sylvain Bourjade & Patrick Rey & Paul Seabright, 2009. "Private Antitrust Enforcement In The Presence Of Pre‐Trial Bargaining," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 372-409, September.
    8. Bourjade, Sylvain, 2009. "The role of private litigation in antitrust enforcement," MPRA Paper 34818, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Bjerk, David J. & Helland, Eric, 2017. "Using a Ratio Test to Estimate Racial Differences in Wrongful Conviction Rates," IZA Discussion Papers 10631, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Bryan C. McCannon, 2017. "Who pays taxes? Liturgies and the Antidosis procedure in Ancient Athens," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 407-421, December.
    11. Tsakas, Elias, 2016. "Reasonable doubt revisited," Research Memorandum 017, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    12. Baker, Matthew J. & Miceli, Thomas J., 2021. "Crime, credible enforcement, and multiple equilibria," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
    13. McCannon, Bryan C., 2010. "The median juror and the trial of Socrates," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 533-540, December.

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    Keywords

    Bayesian Juries; Deterrence; Crime; Punishment;
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