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On the Disutility and Discounting of Imprisonment and the Theory of Deterrence

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  • A. Mitchell Polinsky
  • Steven Shavell

Abstract

This article studies the implications for the theory of deterrence of (a) the manner in" which individuals' disutility from imprisonment varies with the length of the imprisonment" term; and (b) discounting of the future disutility and future public costs of imprisonment. Two" questions are addressed: Is deterrence enhanced more by increasing the length of imprisonment" terms or instead by raising the likelihood of imposing imprisonment? What is the optimal" combination of the severity and probability of imprisonment sanctions?"

Suggested Citation

  • A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 1997. "On the Disutility and Discounting of Imprisonment and the Theory of Deterrence," NBER Working Papers 6259, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6259
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    JEL classification:

    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law

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    This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
    1. Criminalità in Wikipedia Italian ne '')
    2. Злосторство in Wikipedia Macedonian ne '')
    3. Kriminal in Wikipedia Serbo-Croatian ne '')

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