Let the Punishment Fit the Criminal: Punishment Progressivity in a Self-governed Community in Southeastern Spain
40 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2015 Last revised: 16 Nov 2018
Date Written: November 14, 2018
We investigate the roles of individual characteristics and punishment progressivity on crime. Our analysis reconciles low crime rates with light punishments in self-governed communities (Ostrom, 1990), using formal punishments to deter crime (Becker, 1968). We use a novel trial dataset on water stealing from a self-governed community in Mula, Spain. We present a model with predictions consistent with farmers' behavior in Mula: (i) judges trade off crime deterrence and insurance, recognizing that minimizing crime could be socially inefficient; (ii) punishments depend on the defendant's and victim's characteristics; (iii) recidivists are punished harsher than first time offenders for the same crime.
Keywords: Self-governed communities, Crime, Punishment, Enforcement of Law
JEL Classification: C13, L14, N43, K14, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation