Rethinking the Economic Model of Deterrence: How Insights from Empirical Social Science Could Affect Policies Towards Crime and Punishment
Erik James Girvan
University of Oregon School of Law
Review of Law & Economics, 5, 461 (2009)
Game-theoretic models incorporating neo-classical economic assumptions can be a powerful tool for identifying and analyzing issues relevant to legal policy. In this paper I argue that, where those assumptions are deficient, the efficacy of and insights from such models can be improved by incorporating insights from experimental social sciences. Following this paradigm, I propose an expansion of the neo-classical deterrence model of criminal behavior to incorporate, as reputation effects, social scientific theory regarding the effects of in-group norms on behavior. Analysis of the expanded model shows that there are material differences between the classic and expanded models in predictions, the latter of which are more consistent with macro-level observations. I then discuss some substantive implications of the predictions of the expanded model for criminal legal policy.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 31
Keywords: discrimination, criminal law, law and economics, law and society, law and psychology
JEL Classification: K14Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: May 2, 2013 ; Last revised: June 21, 2013
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