IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cre/crefwp/100.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Costly Sanctions and the Maximum Penalty Principle

Author

Abstract

We study the problem of deterring undesirable behavior in a moral hazard framework with risk averse individuals, noisy information and costly sanctions. We find that, if sanctions are a pure loss, a utilitarian society should use a bang-bang penalty scheme satisfying the maximum penalty principle. If sanctions are monetary but imposing sanctions involves a sufficiently large resource cost, the maximum feasible sanction should also be imposed with positive probability. As a possible justification for endogenously limiting sanctions, we derive the optimal penalty scheme under a Rawlsian welfare function. The maximum sanction actually imposed is then smaller than in the utilitarian case, but it is imposed more frequently. Cet article analyse le problème de la dissuasion des comportemenmts indésirables dans un contexte d'aléa moral avec aversion au risque, information imparfaite et coûts de sanction. Nous montrons que, si les sanctions imposées aux individus sont une pure perte sociale, la politique utilitariste optimale consiste à utiliser un mécanisme de sanction dichotomique satisfaisant le principe de la sanction maximale. Si les sanctions sont pécuniaires mais qu'imposer des sanctions implique un coût en ressource suffisamment élevé, la sanction maximale permise devrait également être imposée avec une probabilité positive. Comme justification possible de sanctions limitées, nous analysons la politique de dissuasion optimale avec une fonction de bien-être rawlsienne. Le sanction maximale est dans ce cas inférieure à celle d'une politique utilitariste, mais elle est imposée plus fréquemment.

Suggested Citation

  • Dominique Demougin & Claude Fluet, 1999. "Costly Sanctions and the Maximum Penalty Principle," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 100, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  • Handle: RePEc:cre:crefwp:100
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.unites.uqam.ca/eco/CREFE/cahiers/cah100.pdf
    File Function: Main text
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Polinsky, A Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1992. "Enforcement Costs and the Optimal Magnitude and Probability of Fines," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 133-148, April.
    2. Boadway, Robin & Marceau, Nicolas & Marchand, Maurice, 1996. "Time-Consistent Criminal Sanctions," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 51(2), pages 149-165.
    3. 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.
    4. Gur Huberman & David Mayers & Clifford W. Smith Jr., 1983. "Optimal Insurance Policy Indemnity Schedules," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 415-426, Autumn.
    5. Claude Fluet & Dominique Demougin, 2001. "Ranking of information systems in agency models: an integral condition," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 17(2), pages 489-496.
    6. Arun S. Malik, 1990. "Avoidance, Screening and Optimum Enforcement," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(3), pages 341-353, Autumn.
    7. 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.
    8. Demougin, Dominique & Fluet, Claude, 2001. "Monitoring versus incentives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(9), pages 1741-1764, October.
    9. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1982. "The optimum enforcement of laws and the concept of justice: A positive analysis," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 3-27, June.
    10. Kaplow, Louis, 1990. "A note on the optimal use of nonmonetary sanctions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 245-247, July.
    11. Bose, Pinaki, 1995. "Regulatory errors, optimal fines and the level of compliance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 475-484, March.
    12. Kaplow, Louis, 1992. "The optimal probability and magnitude of fines for acts that definitely are undesirable," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 3-11, March.
    13. Kaplow, Louis & Shavell, Steven, 1994. "Accuracy in the Determination of Liability," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(1), pages 1-15, April.
    14. Garoupa, Nuno, 1997. " The Theory of Optimal Law Enforcement," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(3), pages 267-295, September.
    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 880-891, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. David Masclet, 2003. "L'analyse de l'influence de la pression des pairs dans les équipes de travail," CIRANO Working Papers 2003s-35, CIRANO.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Deterrence; optimal enforcement; moral hazard; maximal penalty; Rawl's criterion;

    JEL classification:

    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • K1 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cre:crefwp:100. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Stéphane Pallage). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/crefeca.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.