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A Note on the Optimal Punishment for Repeat Offenders

  • Winand Emons

Agents may commit a crime twice. The act is inefficient so that the agents are to be deterred. The agents are wealth constrained so that increasing the fine for the first offense means a reduction in the sanction for the second offense and vice versa. The agents may follow history dependent strategies. The government seeks to minimize the probability of apprehension. The optimal sanction scheme is decreasing rather than increasing in the number of offenses. Indeed, the sanction for the first offense equals the entire wealth while the sanction for the second offense is zero.

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Paper provided by Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft in its series Diskussionsschriften with number dp0104.

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Date of creation: Dec 2001
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Handle: RePEc:ube:dpvwib:dp0104
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  1. Garoupa, Nuno, 1997. " The Theory of Optimal Law Enforcement," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(3), pages 267-95, September.
  2. Mitchell Polinsky, A. & Rubinfeld, Daniel L., 1991. "A model of optimal fines for repeat offenders," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 291-306, December.
  3. Polinsky, A. Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1998. "On offense history and the theory of deterrence," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 305-324, September.
  4. Chu, C. Y. Cyrus & Hu, Sheng-cheng & Huang, Ting-yuan, 2000. "Punishing repeat offenders more severely," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 127-140, March.
  5. Baik, Kyung Hwan & Kim, In-Gyu, 2001. "Optimal punishment when individuals may learn deviant values," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 271-285, September.
  6. 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.
  7. Emons,Winand, 1986. "On the limitation of warranty duration," Discussion Paper Serie A 41, University of Bonn, Germany.
  8. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  9. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1980. "On an anomaly of the deterrent effect of punishment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 89-94.
  10. Steven Shavell & A. Mitchell Polinsky, 2000. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 45-76, March.
  11. Burnovski, Moshe & Safra, Zvi, 1994. "Deterrence effects of sequential punishment policies: Should repeat offenders be more severely punished?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 341-350, September.
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