Deterred or Detained? A Unified Model of Criminal Punishment
The standard economic model of crime since Becker (1968) is primarily concerned with deterrence. Actual punishment policies, however, appear to rely on imprisonment to a greater extent than is prescribed by that model. One reason may be the incapacitation function of prison. The model developed in this paper seeks to incorporate incapacitation into the standard model. A key finding of the hybrid model is that when prison is the only form of punishment and the probability of apprehension is fixed, incapacitation can result in a longer or a shorter optimal prison term compared to the deterrence-only model. It is longer if there is underdeterrence, and shorter if there is overdeterrence. When fines are also available and are not constrained by offenders' wealth, the optimal prison term is zero. Since the fine achieves first-best deterrence, only efficient crimes are committed, and hence, there is no gain from incapacitation. Other aspects of the standard model are also studied within the context of the hybrid model.
|Date of creation:||Jun 2009|
|Date of revision:|
|Note:||I appreciate the comments of Steve Shavell on an earlier draft.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: (860) 486-4889
Fax: (860) 486-4463
Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Thomas J. Miceli & Catherine Bucci, 2004.
"A Simple Theory of Increasing Penalties for Repeat Offenders,"
2004-39, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
- 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.
- Winand Emons, 2002.
"Subgame Perfect Punishment for Repeat Offenders,"
dp0211, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
- 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.
- Ehrlich, Isaac, 1981. "On the Usefulness of Controlling Individuals: An Economic Analysis of Rehabilitation, Incapacitation, and Deterrence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 307-22, June.
- Davis, Michael L, 1988. "Time and Punishment: An Intertemporal Model of Crime," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 383-90, April.
- Gary S. Becker, 1968.
"Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
- Lewin, Jeff L. & Trumbull, William N., 1990. "The social value of crime?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 271-284, December.
- Shavell, Steven, 1987. "A Model of Optimal Incapacitation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 107-10, May.
- Loury, Glenn C, 1979.
"Market Structure and Innovation,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 93(3), pages 395-410, August.
- Mortensen, Dale T, 1982. "Property Rights and Efficiency in Mating, Racing, and Related Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 968-79, December.
- Miceli, Thomas J., 1991. "Optimal criminal procedure: Fairness and deterrence," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 3-10, May.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2009-16. 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: (Francis Ahking)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.