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Society Versus Jury: A Case for Limiting Behavior

We model a simple justice system in which a jury is mandated by society to assess the guilt and the punishment of an accused. Jurors are assumed to be almost perfect representatives of society, but they ignore the cost to society of implementing the sentence. As a result the jury is shown to condemn more often and to higher penalties than society would find it optimal. We show that imposing upper and lower limits to penalties helps to align the jury's objective with society's.

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File URL: http://www.unites.uqam.ca/eco/cahiers/wp9907.ps
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File URL: http://www.unites.uqam.ca/eco/cahiers/wp9907.pdf
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Paper provided by Université du Québec à Montréal, Département des sciences économiques in its series Cahiers de recherche du Département des sciences économiques, UQAM with number 9907.

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Length: 18
Date of creation: Aug 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cre:uqamwp:9907
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  1. Polinsky, A. Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1984. "The optimal use of fines and imprisonment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 89-99, June.
  2. 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.
  3. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1996. "Convicting the Innocent: The Inferiority of Unanimous Jury Verdicts," Discussion Papers 1170, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  4. Rasmusen, Eric, 1995. "How optimal penalties change with the amount of harm," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 101-108, January.
  5. 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.
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