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Why Is Law Enforcement Decentralized?

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  • Guillaume Cheikbossian
  • Nicolas Marceau

Abstract

Law enforcement is decentralized. It is so despite documented interjurisdictional externalities which would justify its centralization. To explain this fact, we construct a political economy model of law enforcement. Under decentralization, law enforcement in each region is in accord with the preferences of regional citizens, but interjurisdictional externalities are neglected. Under centralization, law enforcement for all regions is chosen by a legislature of regional representatives which may take externalities into account. However, the majority rule applies for decisions made by the central legislature and this implies that the allocation of enforcement resources may be skewed in favour of those who belong to the required majority. We show that the choice between centralization and decentralization depends on the technology of law enforcement and the nature of the interjurisdictional externalities.

Suggested Citation

  • Guillaume Cheikbossian & Nicolas Marceau, 2007. "Why Is Law Enforcement Decentralized?," Cahiers de recherche 0719, CIRPEE.
  • Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0719
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Marceau, Nicolas, 2008. "La concurrence entre gouvernements est-elle bénéfique?," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 84(4), pages 365-390, Décembre.
    2. Libman, Alexander Mikhailovich, 2009. "Эндогенные Границы И Распределение Власти В Федерациях И Международных Сообществах
      [ENDOGENOUS BOUNDARIES AND DISTRIBUTION OF POWER In the Federation]
      ," MPRA Paper 16473, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Crime; Law enforcement; Decentralization; Externalities;

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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