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Why is Law Enforcement Decentralized?

  • Cheikbossian, Guillaume
  • Marceau, Nicolas

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.

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Paper provided by Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) in its series TSE Working Papers with number 09-022.

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Date of creation: 26 Mar 2009
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Handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:22142
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  1. Jean Hindriks & Benjamin Lockwood, 2005. "Decentralization and Electoral Accountability: Incentives, Separation, and Voter Welfare," CESifo Working Paper Series 1509, CESifo Group Munich.
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  11. Koleman S. Strumpf & Felix Oberholzer-Gee, 2002. "Endogenous Policy Decentralization: Testing the Central Tenet of Economic Federalism," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 1-36, February.
  12. Lockwood, Ben, 1998. "Distributive Politics and the Benefits of Decentralisation," CSGR Working papers series 10/98, Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation (CSGR), University of Warwick.
  13. DelRossi, Alison F. & Inman, Robert P., 1999. "Changing the price of pork: the impact of local cost sharing on legislators' demands for distributive public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 247-273, February.
  14. Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, . "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," Penn CARESS Working Papers ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
  15. Hotte, Louis & van Ypersele, Tanguy, 2005. "Individual Protection Against Property Crime: Decomposing the Effects of Protection Observability," CEPR Discussion Papers 5293, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Guillaume Cheikbossian, 2000. "Federalism, distributive politics and representative democracy," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 105-122, 07.
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