Forfeiture of Illegal Gains, Attempts and Implied Risk Preferences
Murat C. Mungan
George Mason University School of Law
University of Pennsylvania Law School; Erasmus School of Law; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center
October 29, 2013
Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 43, P. 137, 2014
FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 576
FSU College of Law, Law, Business & Economics Paper No. 12-2
U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 12-18
In the law enforcement literature there is a presumption – supported by some experimental and econometric evidence – that criminals are more responsive to increases in the certainty than the severity of punishment. Under a general set of assumptions, this implies that criminals are risk seeking. We show that this implication is no longer valid when forfeiture of illegal gains and the possibility of unsuccessful attempts are considered. Therefore, when drawing inferences concerning offenders’ risk attitudes based on their responses to various punishment schemes, special attention must be paid to whether and to what extent offenders’ illegal gains can be forfeited and whether increases in the probability of punishment affect the probability of attempts being successful. We discuss policy implications related to our observations.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 20
Keywords: Crime, Deterrence, Risk Preferences, Punishment
JEL Classification: K00, K14, K42
Date posted: February 5, 2012 ; Last revised: August 16, 2014
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