Precautionary Incentives for Privately Informed Victims

24 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2002

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 21, 2002


When one victim's precautions against crime have spillover benefits to other victims, individuals do not take the socially optimal amount of precaution. I explore the use of criminal sanctions as a mechanism to correct this: Criminals are punished based on the level of precaution taken by the victim. The problem is compounded when victims have private information about their costs of precaution. I find that, when a sanctioning scheme is used to induce different levels of precaution from high-cost and low-cost victims, a sanction less than the maximum may be used to punish crimes against either type of victim. I also consider the extent to which such a mechanism is consistent with current legal doctrine.

JEL Classification: K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Clements, Matthew T., Precautionary Incentives for Privately Informed Victims (May 21, 2002). Available at SSRN: or

Matthew T. Clements (Contact Author)

St. Edward's University ( email )

3001 South Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78704
United States
(512) 428-1321 (Phone)

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