Punishment - And Beyond

27 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2009

Date Written: July 2009


This paper argues that the “Economics of Crime” concentrates too much on punishment as a policy to fight crime, which is unwise for several reasons. There are important instances in which punishment simply cannot reduce crime. Several feasible alternatives to punishment exist, such as offering positive incentives or handing out awards for law abiding behavior. These alternative approaches tend to create a positive sum environment. When people appreciate living in a society that is to a large extent law abiding, they are more motivated to observe the law.

Keywords: crime, punishment, incentives, motivation, framing, broken window theory

JEL Classification: K42, O31

Suggested Citation

Frey, Bruno S., Punishment - And Beyond (July 2009). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 2706. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1437407

Bruno S. Frey (Contact Author)

CREMA ( email )

Südstrasse 11
Zurich, CH 8008
+41 44 380 00 78 (Phone)

University of Basel ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
Basel, 4002

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