IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ube/dpvwib/dp1505.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Penalty Structures and Deterrence in a Two-Stage Model: Experimental Evidence

Author

Listed:
  • Lisa R. Anderson
  • Gregory DeAngelo
  • Winand Emons
  • Beth Freeborn
  • Hannes Lang

Abstract

Increasing penalty structures for repeat offenses are ubiquitous in penal codes, despite little empirical or theoretical support. Multi-period models of criminal enforcement based on the standard economic approach of Becker (1968) generally find that the optimal penalty structure is either flat or declining. We experimentally test a two-stage theoretical model that predicts decreasing penalty structures will yield greater deterrence than increasing penalty structures. We find that decreasing fine structures are more effective at reducing risky behavior. Additionally, our econometric analyses reveal a number of behavioral findings. Subjects are deterred by past convictions, even though the probability of detection is independent across decisions. Further, subjects appear to take the two-stage nature of the decision making task into account, suggesting that subjects consider both current and future penalties. Even controlling for the fine a subject faces for any given decision, being in a decreasing fine structure has a significant effect on deterrence.

Suggested Citation

  • Lisa R. Anderson & Gregory DeAngelo & Winand Emons & Beth Freeborn & Hannes Lang, 2015. "Penalty Structures and Deterrence in a Two-Stage Model: Experimental Evidence," Diskussionsschriften dp1505, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  • Handle: RePEc:ube:dpvwib:dp1505
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.vwl.unibe.ch/wp-content/uploads/papers/dp/dp1505.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Funk, Patricia, 2004. "On the effective use of stigma as a crime-deterrent," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 715-728, August.
    2. Miceli Thomas J. & Bucci Catherine, 2005. "A Simple Theory of Increasing Penalties for Repeat Offenders," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 71-80, April.
    3. Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch & Christina Strassmair, 2012. "An Experimental Test of the Deterrence Hypothesis," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(3), pages 447-459, August.
    4. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Lisa Anderson & Jennifer Mellor, 2009. "Are risk preferences stable? Comparing an experimental measure with a validated survey-based measure," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 137-160, October.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Gregory DeAngelo & Gary Charness, 2012. "Deterrence, expected cost, uncertainty and voting: Experimental evidence," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 73-100, February.
    9. Casari, Marco & Cason, Timothy N., 2009. "The strategy method lowers measured trustworthy behavior," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 103(3), pages 157-159, June.
    10. Winand Emons, 2004. "Subgame-Perfect Punishment for Repeat Offenders," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(3), pages 496-502, July.
    11. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    16. Emons, Winand, 2007. "Escalating penalties for repeat offenders," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 170-178.
    17. Ben-Shahar, Omri, 1997. "Playing without a rulebook: Optimal enforcement when individuals learn the penalty only by committing the crime," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 409-421, September.
    18. Rasmusen, Eric, 1996. "Stigma and Self-Fulfilling Expectations of Criminality," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(2), pages 519-543, October.
    19. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1980. "On an anomaly of the deterrent effect of punishment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 89-94.
    20. Murat C. Mungan & Jonathan Klick, 2014. "Forfeiture of Illegal Gains, Attempts, and Implied Risk Preferences," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 137-153.
    21. BRYAN C. McCANNON, 2009. "Differentiating Between First And Repeat Offenses," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 27(1), pages 76-85, January.
    22. Shoji, Masahiro, 2013. "Guilt aversion and peer effects in crime: experimental and empirical evidence from Bangladesh," MPRA Paper 44746, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    23. Harel, Alon & Segal, Uzi, 1999. "Criminal Law and Behavioral Law and Economics: Observations on the Neglected Role of Uncertainty in Deterring Crime," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1-2), pages 276-312, Fall.
    24. Gerlinde Fellner & Rupert Sausgruber & Christian Traxler, 2013. "Testing Enforcement Strategies In The Field: Threat, Moral Appeal And Social Information," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 634-660, June.
    25. Garoupa, Nuno, 1997. "The Theory of Optimal Law Enforcement," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(3), pages 267-295, September.
    26. Christoph Engel, 2013. "Behavioral Law and Economics: Empirical Methods," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2013_01, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    27. Evgenia Motchenkova, 2014. "Cost minimizing sequential punishment policies for repeat offenders," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(5), pages 360-365, March.
    28. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2011. "The strategy versus the direct-response method: a first survey of experimental comparisons," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(3), pages 375-398, September.
    29. 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.
    30. 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.
    31. Neilson, William S. & Winter, Harold, 1997. "On criminals' risk attitudes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 97-102, August.
    32. Lance Lochner, 2007. "Individual Perceptions of the Criminal Justice System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 444-460, March.
    33. Anderson, Lisa R & Stafford, Sarah L, 2003. "Punishment in a Regulatory Setting: Experimental Evidence from the VCM," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 91-110, July.
    34. Anderson, Lisa R. & Mellor, Jennifer M., 2008. "Predicting health behaviors with an experimental measure of risk preference," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1260-1274, September.
    35. 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.
    36. Mungan, Murat C., 2010. "Repeat offenders: If they learn, we punish them more severely," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 173-177, June.
    37. Philip A. Curry & Matthew Doyle, 2016. "Integrating Market Alternatives Into The Economic Theory Of Optimal Deterrence," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(4), pages 1873-1883, October.
    38. Nuno Garoupa, 2004. "Dynamic Law Enforcement with Learning," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 192-206, April.
    39. Frank Sloan & Alyssa Platt & Lindsey Chepke & Claire Blevins, 2013. "Deterring domestic violence: Do criminal sanctions reduce repeat offenses?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 51-80, February.
    40. Lana Friesen, 2012. "Certainty of Punishment versus Severity of Punishment: An Experimental Investigation," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 79(2), pages 399-421, October.
    41. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2003. "Truth or Consequences: An Experiment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(1), pages 116-130, January.
    42. Stan Miles & Derek Pyne, 2015. "Deterring repeat offenders with escalating penalty schedules: a Bayesian approach," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 229-250, August.
    43. Thomas J. Miceli, 2013. "Escalating Penalties for Repeat Offenders: Why are they So Hard to Explain?," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 169(4), pages 587-604, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Marcelo Caffera, 2017. "The deterrence effect of linear versus convex penalties in environmental policy: laboratory evidence," Documentos de Trabajo/Working Papers 1702, Facultad de Ciencias Empresariales y Economia. Universidad de Montevideo..
    2. Buehler, Stefan & Nicolas Eschenbaum, 2018. "Explaining Escalating Fines and Prices: The Curse of Positive Selection," Economics Working Paper Series 1807, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    3. DeAngelo, Gregory & Gee, Laura Katherine, 2018. "Peers or Police? Detection and Sanctions in the Provision of Public Goods," IZA Discussion Papers 11540, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Wolfgang Eggert & Steffen Minter & Maximilian Stephan & Handirk Ungern-Sternberg, 2017. "Sanctions for repeat offenders: a question of wealth?," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 64(5), pages 467-482, November.
    5. Feess, Eberhard & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah & Schramm, Markus & Wohlschlegel, Ansgar, 2018. "The impact of fine size and uncertainty on punishment and deterrence: Theory and evidence from the laboratory," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 58-73.
    6. DeAngelo, Gregory & Gee, Laura K., 2020. "Peers or police?: The effect of choice and type of monitoring in the provision of public goods," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 210-227.
    7. Caffera, Marcelo & Chávez, Carlos & Ardente, Analía, 2018. "The deterrence effect of linear versus convex penalties in environmental policy: laboratory evidence," MPRA Paper 90946, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Buehler, Stefan & Eschenbaum, Nicolas, 2020. "Explaining escalating prices and fines: A unified approach," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 153-164.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Stan Miles & Derek Pyne, 2015. "Deterring repeat offenders with escalating penalty schedules: a Bayesian approach," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 229-250, August.
    2. Emons, Winand, 2007. "Escalating penalties for repeat offenders," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 170-178.
    3. Wolfgang Eggert & Steffen Minter & Maximilian Stephan & Handirk Ungern-Sternberg, 2017. "Sanctions for repeat offenders: a question of wealth?," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 64(5), pages 467-482, November.
    4. Mungan, Murat C., 2010. "Repeat offenders: If they learn, we punish them more severely," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 173-177, June.
    5. Thomas J. Miceli, 2012. "Escalating Interest in Escalating Penalties," Working papers 2012-08, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    6. Tim Friehe, 2009. "Escalating penalties for repeat offenders: a note on the role of information," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 97(2), pages 165-183, June.
    7. 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.
    8. Alfred Endres & Bianca Rundshagen, 2012. "Escalating penalties: a supergame approach," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 29-49, March.
    9. Buehler, Stefan & Nicolas Eschenbaum, 2018. "Explaining Escalating Fines and Prices: The Curse of Positive Selection," Economics Working Paper Series 1807, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    10. Funk, Patricia, 2004. "On the effective use of stigma as a crime-deterrent," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 715-728, August.
    11. Feess, Eberhard & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah & Schramm, Markus & Wohlschlegel, Ansgar, 2018. "The impact of fine size and uncertainty on punishment and deterrence: Theory and evidence from the laboratory," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 58-73.
    12. Echazu, Luciana & Nocetti, Diego, 2019. "Understanding risky behaviors during adolescence: A model of self-discovery through experimentation," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 12-21.
    13. 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.
    14. Mungan, Murat C., 2014. "A behavioral justification for escalating punishment schemes," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 189-197.
    15. Rousseau, Sandra, 2009. "The use of warnings in the presence of errors," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 191-201, September.
    16. Subhasish M. Chowdhury & Frederick Wandschneider, 2013. "Anti-trust and the ‘Beckerian Proposition’: the Effects of Investigation and Fines on Cartels," Working Paper series, University of East Anglia, Centre for Competition Policy (CCP) 2013-09, Centre for Competition Policy, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
    17. Polinsky, A. Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 2007. "The Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," Handbook of Law and Economics, in: A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell (ed.), Handbook of Law and Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 403-454, Elsevier.
    18. Miceli Thomas J. & Bucci Catherine, 2005. "A Simple Theory of Increasing Penalties for Repeat Offenders," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 71-80, April.
    19. BRYAN C. McCANNON, 2009. "Differentiating Between First And Repeat Offenses," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 27(1), pages 76-85, January.
    20. Derek Pyne, 2010. "When is it efficient to treat juvenile offenders more leniently than adult offenders?," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 351-371, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • K10 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - General (Constitutional Law)

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ube:dpvwib:dp1505. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/vwibech.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Franz Koelliker (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/vwibech.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.