Testing Enforcement Strategies in the Field: Legal Threat, Moral Appeal and Social Information
University of Ulm - Department of Mathematics and Economics
University of Innsbruck - Department of Economics & Statistics
University of Marburg - Department of Economics; Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences - Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)
September 1, 2009
MPI Collective Goods Preprint, No. 2009/31
CESifo Working Paper Series No. 2787
We run a large-scale natural field experiment to evaluate alternative strategies to enforce compliance with the law. The experiment varies the text of mailings sent to potential evaders of TV license fees. We find a strong alert effect of mailings, leading to a substantial increase in compliance. Among different mailing conditions a legal threat that stresses a high detection risk has a significant and highly robust deterrent effect. Neither appealing to morals nor imparting information about others' behavior enhances compliance. However, the information condition has a positive effect in municipalities where evasion is believed to be common. Overall, the economic model of crime performs remarkably well in explaining our data.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 49
Keywords: Field experiments, law enforcement, compliance, deterrence
JEL Classification: K42, C93working papers series
Date posted: September 9, 2009
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