Social Welfare and the Benefits to Crime
There exists a large literature on the optimal deterrence of crime. Within the literature, however, there exists a controversy over what the appropriate criterion to determine optimality should be. While the most popular method is that of maximization of a utilitarian welfare function, another criterion sometimes used is that of cost minimization. The controversy stems from the question of whether the benefits to crime enjoyed by criminals ought to be included in the welfare analysis. This paper argues that the controversy is an artifact of the fact that the standard model restricts a potential criminal's choice to one of committing a crime or doing nothing. We show that when potential criminals are given the additional choice of achieving their ends through voluntary methods that maximizing the sum of utilities is in fact equivalent to minimizing the costs of crime. The model developed also provides explanations for sanctions that increase in one's criminal history and why necessity may be a partial defense.
|Date of creation:||Jul 2012|
|Date of revision:||Jul 2012|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 3G1|
Phone: (519) 888-4567 ext 33695
Fax: (519) 725-0530
Web page: http://economics.uwaterloo.ca/
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.:
- 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.
- A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 1999. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," NBER Working Papers 6993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Thomas J. Miceli & Catherine Bucci, 2004. "A Simple Theory of Increasing Penalties for Repeat Offenders," Working papers 2004-39, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
- Peters, Michael, 1984. "Bertrand Equilibrium with Capacity Constraints and Restricted Mobility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(5), pages 1117-1127, September.
- 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.
- Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169-169.
- George J. Stigler, 1974. "The Optimum Enforcement of Laws," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 55-67 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Stigler, George J, 1970. "The Optimum Enforcement of Laws," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(3), pages 526-536, May-June.
- Kenneth Burdett & Shouyong Shi & Randall Wright, 2001. "Pricing and Matching with Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 1060-1085, October.
- Dhammika Dharmapala & Nuno Garoupa, 2004. "Penalty Enhancement for Hate Crimes: An Economic Analysis," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 185-207.
- Dhammika Dharmapala & Nuno Garoupa, 2002. "Penalty Enhancement for Hate Crimes: An Economic Analysis," Working papers 2002-12, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
- Moen, Espen R, 1997. "Competitive Search Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 385-411, April.
- Moen, E.R., 1995. "Competitive Search Equilibrium," Memorandum 37/1995, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
- Louis Hotte & Tanguy van Ypersele, 2008. "Individual protection against property crime: decomposing the effects of protection observability," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 41(2), pages 537-563, May.
- Hotte, Louis & van Ypersele, Tanguy, 2005. "Individual Protection Against Property Crime: Decomposing the Effects of Protection Observability," CEPR Discussion Papers 5293, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Shavell, Steven, 1991. "Individual precautions to prevent theft: Private versus socially optimal behavior," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 123-132, September.
- Curry Philip A., 2017. "Malice Aforethought," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 1-18, March.
- Keith N. Hylton, 1996. "Optimal Law Enforcement and Victim Precaution," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(1), pages 197-206, Spring. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wat:wpaper:1205. 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: (Pat Gruber)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.