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Convictions versus Conviction Rates: The Prosecutor’s Choice

  • Eric Rasmusen

    (Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Indiana University Kelley School of Business)

  • Manu Raghav,

    (Department of Economics and Management, Depauw University)

  • Mark Ramseyer

    (Harvard Law School)

Is it better to move first, or second— to innovate, or to imitate? We look at this in a context with both asymmetric information and payoff externalities. Suppose two players, one with superior information about market quality, consider entering one of two new markets immediately or waiting until the last possible date. We show that the more accurate the informed player’s information, the more he wants to delay to keep his information private. The less-informed player also wants to delay, but in order to learn. The less accurate the informed player’s information, the more both players want to move first to foreclose a market. More accurate information can lead to inefficiency by increasing the players’ incentive to delay. Thus, a moderate delay cost can increase industry profits.

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File URL: http://kelley.iu.edu/riharbau/RePEc/iuk/wpaper/bepp2008-16-rasmusen-raghav-ramseyer.pdf
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Paper provided by Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy in its series Working Papers with number 2008-16.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
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Handle: RePEc:iuk:wpaper:2008-16
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  1. Landes, William M, 1971. "An Economic Analysis of the Courts," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(1), pages 61-107, April.
  2. J. Mark Ramseyer & Eric Rasmusen, 1999. "Why Is the Japanese Conviction Rate So High?," Law and Economics 9907001, EconWPA.
  3. Boylan, Richard T, 2004. "Salaries, Turnover, and Performance in the Federal Criminal Justice System," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(1), pages 75-92, April.
  4. Baker, Scott & Mezzetti, Claudio, 2001. "Prosecutorial Resources, Plea Bargaining, and the Decision to Go to Trial," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(1), pages 149-67, April.
  5. Richard T. Boylan, 2004. "Do the Sentencing Guidelines Influence the Retirement Decisions of Federal Judges?," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 231-253, 01.
  6. George L. Priest & Benjamin Klein, 1984. "The Selection of Disputes for Litigation," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 1-56, January.
  7. Snyder, Edward A, 1990. "The Effect of Higher Criminal Penalties on Antitrust Enforcement," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 439-62, October.
  8. Miceli, Thomas J, 1990. "Optimal Prosecution of Defendants Whose Guilt Is Uncertain," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 189-201, Spring.
  9. Richard T. Boylan, 2005. "What Do Prosecutors Maximize? Evidence from the Careers of U.S. Attorneys," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 379-402.
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