Law Enforcement Using Imprisonment
A. Mitchell Polinsky
Stanford Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
AN INTRODUCTION TO LAW AND ECONOMICS, Third Edition, 2003
This essay is a new chapter in An Introduction to Law and Economics (Third Edition, forthcoming 2003). It discusses how the state should determine the length of a jail term to impose on an individual if he has committed a crime and how much to spend on trying to catch criminals. The analysis focuses on the implications of the cost of detection and the cost of operating and maintaining jails. The optimal probability and magnitude of the sentence are shown to depend on how rapidly the disutility from time in jail rises with the length of the jail sentence.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 14
Keywords: law enforcement, imprisonment, sanctions, crime, jail term
JEL Classification: K14, K42
Date posted: June 9, 2003
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