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A Model of Optimal Fines for Repeat Offenders

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  • A. Mitchell Polinsky
  • Daniel L. Rubinfeld

Abstract

This paper analyzes optimal fines in a model in which individuals can commit up to two offenses. The fine for the second offense is allowed to differ from the fine for the first offense. There are four natural cases in the model, defined by assumptions about the gains to individuals from committing the offense. In the case fully analyzed it may be optimal to punish repeat offenders more severely than first-time offenders. In another case, it may be optimal to impose less severe penalties on repeat offenders. And in the two remaining cases, the optimal penalty does not change.

Suggested Citation

  • A. Mitchell Polinsky & Daniel L. Rubinfeld, 1991. "A Model of Optimal Fines for Repeat Offenders," NBER Working Papers 3739, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3739
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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. Landsberger, Michael & Meilijson, Isaac, 1982. "Incentive generating state dependent penalty system : The case of income tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 333-352, December.
    3. George J. Stigler, 1974. "The Optimum Enforcement of Laws," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 55-67 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Shavell, Steven, 1991. "Specific versus General Enforcement of Law," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 1088-1108, October.
    5. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1980. "On an anomaly of the deterrent effect of punishment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 89-94.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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