Uncertainty and Deterrence: Experimental Evidence
31 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2009 Last revised: 14 Jun 2010
Date Written: April 2, 2009
We conduct laboratory experiments to investigate the effects of deterrence mechanisms under controlled conditions. The effect of the expected cost of punishment of an individual's decision to engage in a proscribed activity and the effect of uncertainty on an individual's decision to commit a violation are very difficult to observe in field data. We use a roadway speeding framing and find that (a) individuals respond considerably to increases in the expected cost of speeding, (b) uncertainty about the enforcement regime yields a large reduction in violations committed, and (c) people are much more likely to speed when the punishment regime for which they voted is implemented. Our results have important implications for a behavioral theory of deterrence under uncertainty.
Keywords: Deterrence, Experiment, Uncertainty, Crime and Punishment
JEL Classification: C91, D03, D81, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation