Judicial Errors and Crime Deterrence: Theory and Experimental Evidence
The standard economic theory of crime deterrence predicts that the conviction of an innocent (type-I error) is as detrimental to deterrence as the acquittal of a guilty individual (type-II error). In this paper, we qualify this result theoretically, showing that in the presence of risk aversion, loss-aversion, or differential sensitivity to procedural fairness, type-I errors can have a larger effect on deterrence than type-II errors. We test these predictions with an experiment where participants make a decision on whether to steal from other individuals, being subject to different probabilities of judicial errors. The results indicate that both types of judicial errors have a large and significant impact on deterrence, but these effects are not symmetric. An increase in the probability of type-I errors has a larger negative impact on deterrence than an equivalent increase in the probability of type-II errors. This asymmetry is largely explained by risk aversion and, to a lesser extent, type-I error aversion.
|Date of creation:||Aug 2009|
|Date of revision:||Aug 2009|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Piazza Ateneo Nuovo, 1 Milano 20126|
Phone: +39 02 6448 3089
Fax: +39 02 6448 3085
Web page: http://dems.unimib.it
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, .
"Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments,"
IEW - Working Papers
010, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
- Simon Gachter & Ernst Fehr, 2000. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 980-994, September.
- Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, 1999. "Cooperation and Punishment in Public Goods Experiments," CESifo Working Paper Series 183, CESifo Group Munich.
- Hörisch, Hannah & Strassmair, Christina, 2008.
"An experimental test of the deterrence hypothesis,"
Discussion Papers in Economics
2139, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Hörisch, Hannah & Strassmair, Christina, 2008. "An experimental test of the deterrence hypothesis," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 229, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
- Ulrich Schmidt & Horst Zank, 2005.
"What is Loss Aversion?,"
Journal of Risk and Uncertainty,
Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 157-167, January.
- A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 2005.
"The Theory of Public Enforcement of Law,"
NBER Working Papers
11780, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Giovanni Immordino & Michele Polo, 2008. "Judicial Errors, Legal Standards and Innovative Activity," CSEF Working Papers 196, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 04 Jun 2010.
- Rabin, Matthew, 2000.
"Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem,"
Department of Economics, Working Paper Series
qt731230f8, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Matthew Rabin, 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1281-1292, September.
- Matthew Rabin, 2001. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Method and Hist of Econ Thought 0012001, EconWPA.
- Matthew Rabin., 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Economics Working Papers E00-279, University of California at Berkeley.
- Matthew Rabin, 2001. "Risk Aversion and Expected Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7667, David K. Levine.
- Günther G. Schulze & Björn Frank, 2003.
"Deterrence versus intrinsic motivation: Experimental evidence on the determinants of corruptibility,"
Economics of Governance,
Springer, vol. 4(2), pages 143-160, 08.
- Schulze, Günther G. & Frank, Björn, 2000. "Deterrence versus intrinsic motivation: Experimental evidence on the determinants of corruptility," Discussion Papers, Series I 303, University of Konstanz, Department of Economics.
- Bjorn Frank & Guenther G. Schulze, 2000. "Deterrence versus Intrinsic Motivation: Experimental Evidence on the Determinants of Corruptibility," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0950, Econometric Society.
- Michael S. Visser & William T. Harbaugh & Naci H. Mocan, 2006.
"An Experimental Test of Criminal Behavior Among Juveniles and Young Adults,"
NBER Working Papers
12507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Michael S. Visser & William T. Harbaugh & Naci Mocan, 2006. "An Experimental Test of Criminal Behavior Among Juveniles and Young Adults," University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers 2006-11, University of Oregon Economics Department.
- Nuno Garoupa & Matteo Rizzolli, 2012. "Wrongful Convictions Do Lower Deterrence," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 168(2), pages 224-231, June.
- Klaus Abbink, 2006. "Laboratory experiments on corruption," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-38, Monash University, Department of Economics.
- Uschi Backes-Gellner & Donata Bessey & Kerstin Pull & Simone Tuor, 2008. "What Behavioural Economics Teaches Personnel Economics," Working Papers 0077, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
- Ehrlich, Isaac, 1982. "The optimum enforcement of laws and the concept of justice: A positive analysis," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 3-27, June.
- Vincy Fon & Hans-Bernd Schäfer, 2007. "State Liability for Wrongful Conviction: Incentive Effects on Crime Levels," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 163(2), pages 269-284, June.
- Henrik Lando, 2006. "Does Wrongful Conviction Lower Deterrence?," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(2), pages 327-337, 06.
- Garoupa, Nuno, 1997. " The Theory of Optimal Law Enforcement," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(3), pages 267-95, September.
- Dominique Demougin & Claude Fluet, 2005. "Deterrence versus Judicial Error: A Comparative View of Standards of Proof," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 161(2), pages 193-, June.
- Galbiati, Roberto & Vertova, Pietro, 2008.
"Obligations and cooperative behaviour in public good games,"
Games and Economic Behavior,
Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 146-170, September.
- Roberto Galbiati & Pietro Vertova, 2008. "Obligations and Cooperative Behaviour in Public Good Games," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/2k2jnd64aa9, Sciences Po.
- Torgler, Benno, 2002. " Speaking to Theorists and Searching for Facts: Tax Morale and Tax Compliance in Experiments," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(5), pages 657-83, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:170. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Matteo Pelagatti)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.