Asset Forfeiture as a Law Enforcement Tool

8 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2016

See all articles by Thomas J. Miceli

Thomas J. Miceli

University of Connecticut - Department of Economics

Derek M. Johnson

University of Connecticut - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 2016

Abstract

This article examines the impact on deterrence of laws that allow the seizure of assets used in the commission of a crime but owned by someone other than the offender. The results suggest that forfeiture can be used effectively, in combination with more standard tools (criminal fines or imprisonment), as a deterrent under certain conditions, but the risk of overuse is real. In particular, complete forfeiture (seizure of the entire value of the asset) is not generally socially optimal, but when enforcers are rentā€seekers who care primarily about the revenue generated by forfeiture, they will use the tool to the maximum extent allowed by law.

JEL Classification: H11, K14, K41

Suggested Citation

Miceli, Thomas J. and Johnson, Derek M., Asset Forfeiture as a Law Enforcement Tool (January 2016). Contemporary Economic Policy, Vol. 34, Issue 1, pp. 119-126, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2716470 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/coep.12106

Thomas J. Miceli (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut - Department of Economics ( email )

365 Fairfield Way, U-1063
Storrs, CT 06269-1063
United States
860-486-5810 (Phone)
860-486-4463 (Fax)

Derek M. Johnson

University of Connecticut - Department of Economics ( email )

341 Mansfield Rd
U-63
Storrs, CT 06269
United States
860-570-9221 (Phone)

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