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http://ssrn.com/abstract=901512
 
 

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Public Enforcement of Law


A. Mitchell Polinsky


Stanford Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Steven Shavell


Harvard Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

May 2006

Stanford Law and Economics Olin Working Paper No. 322

Abstract:     
This entry for the forthcoming The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics (Second Edition) surveys the economic analysis of public enforcement of law - the use of public agents (inspectors, tax auditors, police, prosecutors) to detect and to sanction violators of legal rules. We first discuss the basic elements of the theory: the probability of imposition of sanctions, the magnitude and form of sanctions (fines, imprisonment), and the rule of liability. We then examine a variety of extensions, including the costs of imposing fines, mistake, marginal deterrence, settlement, self-reporting, repeat offenses, and incapacitation.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 31

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Date posted: May 16, 2006  

Suggested Citation

Polinsky, A. Mitchell and Shavell, Steven, Public Enforcement of Law (May 2006). Stanford Law and Economics Olin Working Paper No. 322. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=901512 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.901512

Contact Information

A. Mitchell Polinsky (Contact Author)
Stanford Law School ( email )
559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States
650-723-0886 (Phone)
650-723-3557 (Fax)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Steven Shavell
Harvard Law School ( email )
1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-3668 (Phone)
617-496-2256 (Fax)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
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