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Optimal Deterrence with Legal Defence Expenditure

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  • Hugh Gravelle
  • Nuno Garoupa

Abstract

Legal defence expenditure by those accused of a crime reduces their probability of punishment (whether innocent and guilty). We show that there could be more or less crime in a system which permits such expenditure. Because accused may choose a level of defence expenditure which bankrupts them if found guilty, deterrence can decrease when the fine is increased. The unregulated expenditure of innocent and guilty defendants is inefficient. We show that the optimal fine will never bankrupt the dishonest accused but that the honest accused can be bankrupt or left with positive wealth if convicted. We examine policies to regulate defence expenditure including a tax financed public defender system, a tax on legal defence and compensation for acquitted accused.

Suggested Citation

  • Hugh Gravelle & Nuno Garoupa, "undated". "Optimal Deterrence with Legal Defence Expenditure," Discussion Papers 00/08, Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:00/08
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    File URL: https://www.york.ac.uk/media/economics/documents/discussionpapers/2000/0008.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kaplow, Louis & Shavell, Steven, 1990. "Legal advice about acts already committed," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 149-159, September.
    2. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1982. "The optimum enforcement of laws and the concept of justice: A positive analysis," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 3-27, June.
    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. Polinsky, A Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1991. "A Note on Optimal Fines When Wealth Varies among Individuals," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 618-621, June.
    6. Png, I. P. L., 1986. "Optimal subsidies and damages in the presence of judicial error," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 101-105, June.
    7. Dnes, Antony W, 1996. "An Economic Analysis of the BSE Scare," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 43(3), pages 343-348, August.
    8. Lott, John R, Jr, 1987. "Should the Wealthy Be Able to "Buy Justice"?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(6), pages 1307-1316, December.
    9. Garoupa, Nuno, 1997. " The Theory of Optimal Law Enforcement," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(3), pages 267-295, September.
    10. Polinsky, Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1979. "The Optimal Tradeoff between the Probability and Magnitude of Fines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(5), pages 880-891, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Neil Rickman & Dionisia Tzavara, 2005. "Optimal Pricing of Court Services," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 31-41, July.
    2. Garoupa, Nuno & Stephen, Frank, 2003. "A Note on Optimal Law Enforcement with Legal Aid," CEPR Discussion Papers 4113, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Giuseppe Dari-Mattiacci & Gerrit De Geest, 2005. "Judgment Proofness under Four Different Precaution Technologies," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 161(1), pages 1-38, March.
    4. Nuno Garoupa & Hugh Gravelle, 2003. "Efficient Deterrence does not Require that the Wealthy should be Able to Buy Justice," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 159(3), pages 545-545, September.
    5. Šastitko, Andrej E., 2013. "Effects of third party errors," EconStor Preprints 121747, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    6. Nuno Garoupa & Jonathan Klick & Francesco Parisi, 2006. "A law and economics perspective on terrorism," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 147-168, July.
    7. Shastitko, Andrey, 2014. "Effects of the Third Party Errors," Published Papers re9021, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.
    8. Giuseppe Dari-Mattiacci & Barbara M. Mangan, 2008. "Disappearing Defendants versus Judgment-Proof Injurers," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(300), pages 749-765, November.
    9. Shastitko, A., 2011. "Errors of I and II Types in Economic Exchanges with Third Party Enforcement," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, issue 10, pages 125-148.
    10. Echazu, Luciana & Garoupa, Nuno, 2012. "Why not adopt a loser-pays-all rule in criminal litigation?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 233-241.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Legal defence; deterrence; legal aid;

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation

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