A Model of Optimal Fines for Repeat Offenders

28 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2000 Last revised: 21 Sep 2010

See all articles by A. Mitchell Polinsky

A. Mitchell Polinsky

Stanford Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Daniel L. Rubinfeld

University of California at Berkeley - School of Law; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); NYU Law School

Date Written: June 1991

Abstract

This paper analyzes optimal fines in a model in which individuals can commit up to two offenses. The fine for the second offense is allowed to differ from the fine for the first offense. There are four natural cases in the model, defined by assumptions about the gains to individuals from committing the offense. In the case fully analyzed it may be optimal to punish repeat offenders more severely than first-time offenders. In another case, it may be optimal to impose less severe penalties on repeat offenders. And in the two remaining cases, the optimal penalty does not change.

Suggested Citation

Polinsky, A. Mitchell and Rubinfeld, Daniel L., A Model of Optimal Fines for Repeat Offenders (June 1991). NBER Working Paper No. w3739, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=242131

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Daniel L. Rubinfeld

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