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Public Safety, Altruism and Redistribution




A model where a portion of the population participates in illegal activities is developed. The propensity to participate in crimes depends on the probability and the opportunity cost of being arrested. The government can influence these variables by law enforcement expenditure and by social transfer. We analyze the cost minimizing policy mix and the incentive of wealthy agents to finance redistribution. We compare this approach with standard modelling where redistribution follows from altruistic preferences. Un modèle est développé dans lequel une partie de la population poursuit des activités illégales. Les incitations à la criminalité dépendent de la probabilité et des coûts d'opportunité d'être puni. Le gouvernement peut influencer ces variables par un systeme de coercition et par sa politique sociale. Nous étudions d'une part les choix politiques qui minimisent les coûts et d'autre part, les incitations de la population "riche" à financer une politique de redistribution. Nous comparons cette approche avec d'autres modèles dont les politiques de redistribution résultent des préférences altruistes.

Suggested Citation

  • Dominique Demougin & Robert Schwager, 1998. "Public Safety, Altruism and Redistribution," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 62, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  • Handle: RePEc:cre:crefwp:62

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1981. "On the Usefulness of Controlling Individuals: An Economic Analysis of Rehabilitation, Incapacitation, and Deterrence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 307-322, June.
    2. Zhang, Junsen, 1997. "The Effect of Welfare Programs on Criminal Behavior: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(1), pages 120-137, January.
    3. Pauly, Mark V., 1973. "Income redistribution as a local public good," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 35-58, February.
    4. Furlong, William J., 1987. "A general equilibrium model of crime commission and prevention," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 87-103, October.
    5. Wildasin, David E, 1991. "Income Redistribution in a Common Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 757-774, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Demougin, Dominique & Schwager, Robert, 2003. "Law enforcement and criminality: Europe vs. USA," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 217-225, June.

    More about this item


    Criminality; Redistribution; Public safety;

    JEL classification:

    • H8 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues
    • K00 - Law and Economics - - General - - - General (including Data Sources and Description)

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