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Escalating Penalties for Repeat Offenders

  • Winand Emons

Agents may commit a crime twice. The act is inefficient so that the agents are to be deterred. Even if an agent is law abiding, she may still commit the act accidentally. The agents are wealth constrained. The government seeks to minimize the probability of apprehension. If the benefit from the crime is small, the optimal sanction scheme is decreasing in the number of offenses. In contrast, if the benefit is large, sanctions are increasing in the number of offenses. Increasing sanctions do not make the criminal track less attractive; they make being being honest more attractive

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Paper provided by Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft in its series Diskussionsschriften with number dp0315.

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Date of creation: Oct 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ube:dpvwib:dp0315
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  1. 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.
  2. Emons, Winand, 2002. "Subgame Perfect Punishment for Repeat Offenders," CEPR Discussion Papers 3667, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Emons, Winand, 2003. "A note on the optimal punishment for repeat offenders," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 253-259, September.
  4. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1980. "On an anomaly of the deterrent effect of punishment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 89-94.
  5. 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.
  6. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 1999. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," NBER Working Papers 6993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. Garoupa, Nuno, 1997. " The Theory of Optimal Law Enforcement," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(3), pages 267-95, September.
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