Forfeiture of Illegal Gains, Attempts and Implied Risk Preferences

20 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2012 Last revised: 16 Aug 2014

Murat C. Mungan

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Jonathan Klick

University of Pennsylvania Law School; Erasmus School of Law; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Date Written: October 29, 2013

Abstract

In the law enforcement literature there is a presumption – supported by some experimental and econometric evidence – that criminals are more responsive to increases in the certainty than the severity of punishment. Under a general set of assumptions, this implies that criminals are risk seeking. We show that this implication is no longer valid when forfeiture of illegal gains and the possibility of unsuccessful attempts are considered. Therefore, when drawing inferences concerning offenders’ risk attitudes based on their responses to various punishment schemes, special attention must be paid to whether and to what extent offenders’ illegal gains can be forfeited and whether increases in the probability of punishment affect the probability of attempts being successful. We discuss policy implications related to our observations.

Keywords: Crime, Deterrence, Risk Preferences, Punishment

JEL Classification: K00, K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Mungan, Murat C. and Klick, Jonathan, Forfeiture of Illegal Gains, Attempts and Implied Risk Preferences (October 29, 2013). Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 43, P. 137, 2014; FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 576; FSU College of Law, Law, Business & Economics Paper No. 12-2; U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 12-18. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1999104 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1999104

Murat C. Mungan (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

Jonathan Klick

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
2157463455 (Phone)

Erasmus School of Law ( email )

3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

2048 Analysis Drive
Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59718
United States

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