Punishment – and Beyond

Contemporary Economics, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp. 90-99, 2011

10 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2012

Date Written: June 30, 2011


This paper argues that the “Economics of Crime” concentrates too much on punishment as a means of preventing 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

Suggested Citation

Frey, Bruno S., Punishment – and Beyond (June 30, 2011). Contemporary Economics, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp. 90-99, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2165802

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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