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The structure of fi nes in the light of political competition

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  • Éric Langlais
  • Marie Obidzinski

Abstract

This paper analyzes the determinants of public law enforcement policies when citizens vote for the timing and level of fi nes. We consider situations where citizens and politicians disagree on the value of the expected social harm associated with some activities. We fi nd that citizens vote for act-based (harm-based) sanctions when they expect that social harm is low (resp high). On the other hand, we show that the equilibrium fines may be higher or lower than the optimal one, depending on the difference between politicians and citizens' expectations.

Suggested Citation

  • Éric Langlais & Marie Obidzinski, 2014. "The structure of fi nes in the light of political competition," EconomiX Working Papers 2014-59, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
  • Handle: RePEc:drm:wpaper:2014-59
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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.
    2. Éric Langlais & Marie Obidzinski, 2015. "Public law enforcers and political competition," EconomiX Working Papers 2015-40, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    3. Lewin, Jeff L. & Trumbull, William N., 1990. "The social value of crime?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 271-284, December.
    4. Steven Shavell & A. Mitchell Polinsky, 2000. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 45-76, March.
    5. Roger Bowles & Michael Faure & Nuno Garoupa, 2008. "The scope of criminal law and criminal sanctions: An economic view and policy implications," Working Papers 2008-03, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales.
    6. Marc Fleurbaey & Bertil Tungodden & Howard F. Chang, 2003. "Any Non-welfarist Method of Policy Assessment Violates the Pareto Principle: A Comment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1382-1386, December.
    7. Eric Langlais, 2011. "Analyse économique et droit pénal : contributions, débats, limites," EconomiX Working Papers 2011-33, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    8. Garoupa, Nuno, 1997. " The Theory of Optimal Law Enforcement," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(3), pages 267-295, September.
    9. Louis Kaplow & Steven Shavell, 2001. "Any Non-welfarist Method of Policy Assessment Violates the Pareto Principle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(2), pages 281-286, April.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    timing of sanction; law enforcement; deterrence; political competition; majority rule.;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • K23 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Regulated Industries and Administrative Law
    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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