Optimal Fines and Auditing When Wealth is Costly to Observe
This article studies optimal fines when an offender’s wealth is private information that can be obtained by the enforcement authority only after a costly audit. I derive the optimal fine for the underlying offense, the optimal fine for misrepresenting one’s wealth level, and the optimal audit probability. I demonstrate that the optimal fine for misrepresenting wealth equals the fine for the offense divided by the audit probability, and therefore generally exceeds the fine for the offense. The optimal audit probability is positive, increases as the cost of an audit declines, and equals unity if the cost is sufficiently low. If the optimal audit probability is less than unity, there are some individuals who are capable of paying the fine for the offense who misrepresent their wealth levels. I also show that the optimal fine for the offense results in underdeterrence due to the cost of auditing wealth levels.
|Date of creation:||Aug 2004|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 366 Galvez Street, Stanford, California 94305-6015|
Phone: (650) 725-1874
Fax: (650) 723-8611
Web page: http://siepr.stanford.edu
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Kaplow, Louis & Shavell, Steven, 1994.
"Optimal Law Enforcement with Self-Reporting of Behavior,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(3), pages 583-606, June.
- Louis Kaplow & Steven Shavell, 1991. "Optimal Law Enforcement with Self-Reporting of Behavior," NBER Working Papers 3822, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- A. Mitchell Polinsky, 2004.
"The Optimal Use of Fines and Imprisonment When Wealth is Unobservable,"
NBER Working Papers
10761, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Polinsky, A. Mitchell, 2006. "The optimal use of fines and imprisonment when wealth is unobservable," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 823-835, May.
- A. Mitchell Polinsky, 2004. "The Optimal Use of Fines and Imprisonment when Wealth is Unobservable," Discussion Papers 03-037, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
- Garoupa, Nuno, 1998. "Optimal Law Enforcement and Imperfect Information When Wealth Varies among Individuals," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(260), pages 479-90, November.
- James Andreoni & Brian Erard & Jonathan Feinstein, 1998.
Journal of Economic Literature,
American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 818-860, June.
- Polinsky, A Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1991.
"A Note on Optimal Fines When Wealth Varies among Individuals,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 618-21, June.
- A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 1990. "A Note on Optimal Fines When Wealth Varies Among Individuals," NBER Working Papers 3232, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Levitt, Steven D., 1997. "Incentive compatibility constraints as an explanation for the use of prison sentences instead of fines," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 179-192, June.
- Chu, C. Y. Cyrus & Jiang, Neville, 1993. "Are fines more efficient than imprisonment?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 391-413, July.
- Cyrus Chu, C. Y. & Qian, Yingyi, 1995. "Vicarious liability under a negligence rule," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 305-322, September.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:03-038. 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: (Anne Shor)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.