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Collective Responsibility

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  • Thomas J. Miceli

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

The concept of collective responsibility, or group punishment, for crimes or other harmful acts was a pervasive feature of ancient societies, as exemplified by the Roman doctrines of quasi-delicts and noxal liability, and the Greek notion of “pollution.” This chapter briefly surveys historical examples of collective responsibility, which have largely given way to the modern concept of individual responsibility, though vestiges of collective responsibility remain in modern culture and law (notably in the form of vicarious liability). The chapter then lays out a theoretical analysis of the choice between collective and individual responsibility that highlights those circumstances in which each is preferred as a law enforcement strategy.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas J. Miceli, 2013. "Collective Responsibility," Working papers 2013-23, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2013-23
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    File URL: http://web2.uconn.edu/economics/working/2013-23.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Peter S. Menell, 1991. "The Limitations of Legal Institutions for Addressing Environmental Risks," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 93-113, Summer.
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    3. Segerson, Kathleen & Tietenberg, Tom, 1992. "The structure of penalties in environmental enforcement: An economic analysis," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 179-200, September.
    4. Nuno Garoupa, 2000. "Corporate criminal law and organization incentives: a managerial perspective," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(6), pages 243-252.
    5. Thomas J. Miceli & Kathleen Segerson, 2007. "Punishing the Innocent along with the Guilty: The Economics of Individual versus Group Punishment," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, pages 81-106.
    6. Anonymous, 1998. "Research Updates," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 29(1), February.
    7. Steven Shavell & A. Mitchell Polinsky, 2000. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 45-76.
    8. Shavell, Steven, 1985. "Uncertainty over Causation and the Determination of Civil Liability," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(3), pages 587-609, October.
    9. Parisi, Francesco & Dari-Mattiacci, Giuseppe, 2004. "The rise and fall of communal liability in ancient law," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 489-505, December.
    10. 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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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Collective responsibility; individual punishment; group punishment; liability;

    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
    • N40 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - General, International, or Comparative

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