Discounting and Criminals' Implied Risk Preferences
Murat C. Mungan
Florida State University - College of Law
University of Pennsylvania Law School; Erasmus School of Law; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center
February 16, 2014
Review of Law and Economics, Forthcoming
U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 14-15
FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 672
FSU College of Law, Law, Business & Economics Paper
It is commonly assumed that potential offenders are more responsive to increases in the certainty than increases in the severity of punishment. An important implication of this assumption within the Beckerian law enforcement model is that criminals are risk-seeking. This note adds to existing literature by showing that offenders who discount future monetary benefits can be more responsive to the certainty rather than the severity of punishment, even when they are risk averse, and even when their disutility from imprisonment rises proportionally (or more than proportionally) with the length of the sentence.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 5
Keywords: Crime, deterrence, risk, punishment, discounting
JEL Classification: K00, K14, K42
Date posted: February 17, 2014 ; Last revised: January 23, 2015
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