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Setting Standards for Credible Compliance and Law Enforcement

  • Marcel Boyer
  • Tracy Lewis
  • Wei Lin Liu

This paper examines the setting of optimal legal standards to simultaneously induce parties to invest in care and to motivate law enforcers to detect violators of the law. The strategic interaction between care providers and law enforcers determines the degree of efficiency achieved by the standards. Our principal finding is that some divergence between the marginal benefits and marginal costs of providing care is required to control enforcement costs. Further, the setting of standards may effectively substitute for the setting of fines when penalties for violation are fixed. In particular, maximal fines may be welfare reducing when standards are set optimally. Nous considérons dans cet article la détermination, en information incomplète, de normes légales optimales pour à la fois inciter les citoyens à faire preuve de diligence (prévention) et motiver les agents de la paix à veiller au respect des lois. L'interaction stratégique entre citoyens et agents de la paix détermine l'efficacité des normes choisies. Notre résultat principal est à l'effet qu'un écart entre bénéfices marginaux et coûts marginaux de la diligence est nécessaire afin de réduire les coûts d'application des lois. De plus, les normes peuvent être un substitut aux amendes lorsque les pénalités pour infraction sont fixes. Des amendes maximales peuvent en particulier être contre-indiquées lorsque les normes sont optimalement déterminées.

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File URL: http://www.cirano.qc.ca/files/publications/96s-27.pdf
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Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 96s-27.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 01 Oct 1996
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:96s-27
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  1. George J. Stigler, 1974. "The Optimum Enforcement of Laws," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 55-67 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Graetz, Michael J. & Reinganum, Jennifer F. & Wilde, Louis L., . "The Tax Compliance Game: Toward an Interactive Theory of Law Enforcement," Working Papers 589, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  3. Kaplow, Louis & Shavell, Steven, 1994. "Optimal Law Enforcement with Self-Reporting of Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(3), pages 583-606, June.
  4. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Politics of Government Decision-Making: A Theory of Regulatory Capture," Working papers 506, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Arun S. Malik, 1990. "Avoidance, Screening and Optimum Enforcement," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(3), pages 341-353, Autumn.
  6. 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.
  7. William M. Landes & Richard A. Posner, 1974. "The Private Enforcement of Law," NBER Working Papers 0062, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1990. "The Politics of Government Decision Making: Regulatory Institutions," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 1-31, Spring.
  9. Becker, Gary S, 1983. "A Theory of Competition among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400, August.
  10. Tirole, Jean, 1986. "Hierarchies and Bureaucracies: On the Role of Collusion in Organizations," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(2), pages 181-214, Fall.
  11. Mookherjee, Dilip & Png, I P L, 1992. "Monitoring vis-a-vis Investigation in Enforcement of Law," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 556-65, June.
  12. Gary S. Becker & George J. Stigler, 1974. "Law Enforcement, Malfeasance, and Compensation of Enforcers," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1-18, January.
  13. David P. Baron & David Besanko, 1984. "Regulation, Asymmetric Information, and Auditing," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(4), pages 447-470, Winter.
  14. Harrington, Winston, 1988. "Enforcement leverage when penalties are restricted," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 29-53, October.
  15. 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.
  16. Guesnerie, Roger & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1984. "A complete solution to a class of principal-agent problems with an application to the control of a self-managed firm," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 329-369, December.
  17. repec:att:wimass:8908 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Mookherjee, Dilip & Png, I P L, 1994. "Marginal Deterrence in Enforcement of Law," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 1039-66, October.
  19. 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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