Efficient Institutions and Effective Deterrence: On Timing and Uncertainty of Punishment

37 Pages Posted: 31 Dec 2018 Last revised: 17 Aug 2019

See all articles by Johannes Buckenmaier

Johannes Buckenmaier

University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Eugen Dimant

University of Pennsylvania, Behavioral Ethics Lab

Ann-Christin Posten

Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics

Ulrich Schmidt

University of Kiel - Institute of Economics

Date Written: August 16, 2019

Abstract

This paper presents the first controlled economic experiment to study celerity, i.e. the effectiveness of swiftness of punishment in reducing illicit behavior. We consider two dimensions: timing of punishment and timing of the resolution of uncertainty regarding the punishment. We find a surprising u-shaped relation between deterrence and the delays of punishment and uncertainty resolution. Institutions that either reveal detection and impose punishment immediately or maintain uncertainty about the state of detection and impose punishment sufficiently late are equally effective at deterring illicit behavior. Our results yield strong implications for the design of institutional policies to mitigate misconduct and reduce recidivism.

Keywords: Deterrence, Institutions, Punishment, Swiftness, Uncertainty

JEL Classification: C91, D02, D81, K42

Suggested Citation

Buckenmaier, Johannes and Dimant, Eugen and Posten, Ann-Christin and Schmidt, Ulrich, Efficient Institutions and Effective Deterrence: On Timing and Uncertainty of Punishment (August 16, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3300563 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3300563

Johannes Buckenmaier

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Z├╝rich
Switzerland

Eugen Dimant (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania, Behavioral Ethics Lab ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/eugendimant/

Ann-Christin Posten

Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics ( email )

124 Mount Auburn Street
Suite 520N
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Ulrich Schmidt

University of Kiel - Institute of Economics ( email )

Olshausenstrasse 40
24098 Kiel, 24098
Germany

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
88
Abstract Views
610
rank
288,127
PlumX Metrics