IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Sentencing Guidelines, Judicial Discretion, And Social Values


  • Thomas J. Miceli

    (University of Connecticut)


This paper studies the institutional structure of criminal sentencing, focusing on the interaction between legislatures, which set sentencing ranges ex ante, and judges, who choose actual sentences from within those ranges ex post. The key question concerns the optimal degree of judicial discretion, given the sequential nature of the process and the possibly divergent interests of legislatures and judges regarding the social function of criminal punishment. The enactment of sentencing reform in the 1970s and 80s provides both a context for the model and an opportunity to evaluate its conclusions.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas J. Miceli, 2004. "Sentencing Guidelines, Judicial Discretion, And Social Values," Working papers 2004-23, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2004-23

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Schulhofer, Stephen J, 1988. "Criminal Justice Discretion as a Regulatory System," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 43-82, January.
    3. 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.
    4. Miceli, Thomas J., 1991. "Optimal criminal procedure: Fairness and deterrence," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 3-10, May.
    5. Waldfogel, Joel, 1993. "Criminal Sentences as Endogenous Taxes: Are They "Just" or "Efficient"?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 139-151, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Criminal punishment; Judicial discretion; Sentencing reform;

    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

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:uct:uconnp:2004-23. 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: (Mark McConnel). General contact details of provider: .

    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 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.

    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.