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Reversible Rewards

Omri Ben-Shahar

University of Chicago Law School

Anu Bradford

Columbia University

June 8, 2011

University of Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 557

This article offers a new mechanism of law enforcement, combining sanctions and rewards into a scheme of “reversible rewards.” A law enforcer sets up a pre-committed fund and offers it as reward to another party to refrain from violation. If the violator turns down the reward, the enforcer can use the money in the fund for one purpose only - to pay for punishment of the violator. The article shows that this scheme doubles the effect of funds invested in enforcement, and allows enforcers to stop violations that would otherwise be too costly to deter. It argues that reversible rewards could be used to bolster enforcement in selective areas of private and public law, and could also be applied strategically in litigation.

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Date posted: June 13, 2011 ; Last revised: September 16, 2013

Suggested Citation

Ben-Shahar, Omri and Bradford, Anu, Reversible Rewards (June 8, 2011). University of Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 557. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1864043 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1864043

Contact Information

Omri Ben-Shahar (Contact Author)
University of Chicago Law School ( email )
1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Anu Bradford
Columbia University ( email )
3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States
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