Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2130847
 


 



A Behavioral Justification for Escalating Punishment Schemes


Murat C. Mungan


Florida State University - College of Law

August 16, 2012

International Review of Law and Economics, Forthcoming
FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 602
FSU College of Law, Law, Business & Economics Paper

Abstract:     
The standard two-period law enforcement model is considered in a setting where individuals rarely lose self-control or commit crime without first comparing expected costs and benefits. Where escalating punishment schemes are present, there is an inherent value in keeping a clean criminal record; a person with a record may unintentionally become a repeat offender if he fails to exert self-control, and be punished more severely. If the punishment for repeat offenders is sufficiently high, one may rationally forgo the opportunity of committing a profitable crime today to avoid being sanctioned as a repeat offender in the future. Therefore, partial deterrence can be achieved at a very low cost through the use of escalating penalties, providing a behavioral justification for punishing repeat offenders more severely.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 19

Keywords: Lapse, weak will, repeat offenders, law enforcement, deterrence, escalating penalties

JEL Classification: D03, K00, K10, K14, K40, K42

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Date posted: August 17, 2012 ; Last revised: October 30, 2013

Suggested Citation

Mungan, Murat C., A Behavioral Justification for Escalating Punishment Schemes (August 16, 2012). International Review of Law and Economics, Forthcoming; FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 602; FSU College of Law, Law, Business & Economics Paper. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2130847 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2130847

Contact Information

Murat C. Mungan (Contact Author)
Florida State University - College of Law ( email )
425 W. Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, FL 32306
United States
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