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Penalty Enhancement for Hate Crimes: An Economic Analysis

Author

Listed:
  • Dhammika Dharmapala

    (Univeristy of Connecticut)

  • Nuno Garoupa

    (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)

Abstract

The issue of bias-motivated crimes has attracted consderable attention in recent years. In this paper, we develop an economic framework to analyze penalty enhancements for bias-motivated crimes. We extend the standard model by introducing two different groups of potential victims of crime, and assume that a potential offender's benefits from a crime depend on the group to which the victim belongs. We begin with the assumption that the harm to an individual victim from a bias-motivated crime is identical to that from an equivalent non-hate crime. Nonetheless, we derive the result that a pattern of crimes disproportionately targeting an identifiable group leads to greater social harm. This conclusion follows both from a model where disparities in groups' victimization probabilities lead to social losses due to fairness concerns, as well as a model where potential victims have the opportunity to undertake socially costly victimization avoidance activities. In particular, penalty enhancements can reduce the incentives for avoidance activity, and thereby protect the networks of profitable interactions that link members of different groups. We also argue that those groups that are covered by hate crime statutes tend to be those whose characteristics make it especially likely that penalty enhancement is socially optimal. Finally, we consider a number of other issues related to hate crimes, including teh choice of sanctions from behind a Rawlsian 'veil of ignorance' concerning group identity.

Suggested Citation

  • Dhammika Dharmapala & Nuno Garoupa, 2002. "Penalty Enhancement for Hate Crimes: An Economic Analysis," Working papers 2002-12, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2002-12
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Shavell, Steven, 1987. "The Optimal Use of Nonmonetary Sanctions as a Deterrent," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 584-592.
    2. Polinsky, A Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1999. "On the Disutility and Discounting of Imprisonment and the Theory of Deterrence," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 1-16, January.
    3. Jefferson, Philip N. & Pryor, Frederic L., 1999. "On the geography of hate," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 389-395, December.
    4. Nuno Garoupa, 2001. "Optimal law enforcement when victims are rational players," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 231-242, November.
    5. Steven Shavell & A. Mitchell Polinsky, 2000. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 45-76.
    6. Steven Shavell & A. Mitchell Polinsky, 2000. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 45-76.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Sara de la Rica, 2008. "Complements or Substitutes? Immigrant and Native Task Specialization in Spain," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 0816, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    2. Garoupa, Nuno & Obidzinski, Marie, 2006. "The Scope of Punishment: An Economic Theory of Harm-Based vs. Act-Based Sanctions," CEPR Discussion Papers 5899, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Ehud Guttel & Barak Medina, 2007. "Less Crime, More (Vulnerable) Victims: Game Theory and the Distributional Effects of Criminal Sanctions," Discussion Paper Series dp472, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
    4. Ehud Guttel & Barak Medina, 2007. "Less Crime, More (Vulnerable) Victims: Game Theory and the Distributional Effects of Criminal Sanctions," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000001799, UCLA Department of Economics.
    5. Dharmapala Dhammika & Garoupa Nuno & McAdams Richard H., 2009. "Belief in a Just World, Blaming the Victim, and Hate Crime Statutes," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 311-345, May.
    6. Ryan, Matt E. & Leeson, Peter T., 2011. "Hate groups and hate crime," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 256-262.
    7. Guererk, Oezguer & Rockenbach, Bettina & Wolff, Irenaeus, 2010. "The effects of punishment in dynamic public-good games," MPRA Paper 22097, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Nuno Garoupa, 2003. "Behavioral Economic Analysis of Crime: A Critical Review," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 5-15, January.
    9. Philip A. Curry & Matthew Doyle, 2012. "Social Welfare and the Benefits to Crime," Working Papers 1205, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2012.
    10. Carbonara, Emanuela & Pasotti, Piero, 2010. "Social dynamics and minority protection," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 317-328, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    law enforcement; hate crimes;

    JEL classification:

    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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