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Private Law Enforcement, Fine Sharing, and Tax Collection: Theory and Historical Evidence

  • Metin M. Cosgel

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Haggay Etkes

    (Bank of Israel)

  • Thomas J. Miceli

    (University of Connecticut)

This paper contributes to the literature on private law enforcement by proposing a novel solution to the problem of underenforcement by monopolistic enforcers. Monopolistic enforcers underinvest in fine collection because, by maximizing net expected revenue, they ignore the social benefits of deterrence. We show that this problem can be partially resolved by combining the tasks of law enforcement with tax collection because a joint enforcer-collector will have an interest in reducing the crime rate in order to maximize his income from taxes. In support of the theory, we discuss two historical examples of this practice: decentralized law enforcement under European feudalism, and centralized law enforcement in the Ottoman Empire.

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Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2010-03.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2010-03
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  1. Besanko, David & Spulber, Daniel F, 1989. "Delegated Law Enforcement and Noncooperative Behavior," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 25-52, Spring.
  2. Garoupa Nuno & Klerman Daniel M., 2010. "Corruption and Private Law Enforcement: Theory and History," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 75-96, April.
  3. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 1999. "Corruption and Optimal Law Enforcement," NBER Working Papers 6945, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 2005. "The Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," NBER Working Papers 11780, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Pollock, Sir Frederick & Maitland, Frederic William, 1898. "History of English Law Before the Time of Edward I," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, edition 2, volume 2, number maitland1898b.
  6. Wheaton, William C., 2006. "Metropolitan fragmentation, law enforcement effort and urban crime," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 1-14, July.
  7. Pollock, Sir Frederick & Maitland, Frederic William, 1898. "History of English Law Before the Time of Edward I," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, edition 2, volume 1, number maitland1898a.
  8. Stigler, George J, 1970. "The Optimum Enforcement of Laws," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(3), pages 526-36, May-June.
  9. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
  10. Benson, Bruce L & Rasmussen, David W & Sollars, David L, 1995. " Police Bureaucracies, Their Incentives, and the War on Drugs," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 83(1-2), pages 21-45, April.
  11. 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.
  12. Metin M. CoÅŸgel & Thomas J. Miceli, 2009. "Tax Collection in History," Public Finance Review, , vol. 37(4), pages 399-420, July.
  13. Nuno Garoupa & Daniel Klerman, 2002. "Optimal Law Enforcement with a Rent-Seeking Government," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 116-140, January.
  14. Gary S. Becker & George J. Stigler, 1974. "Law Enforcement, Malfeasance, and Compensation of Enforcers," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1-18, January.
  15. Helsley, Robert W. & Strange, William C., 1999. "Gated Communities and the Economic Geography of Crime," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 80-105, July.
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