Optimal Imprisonment and Fines with Non-Discriminatory Sentences

9 Pages Posted: 14 May 2019 Last revised: 16 May 2019

See all articles by Nuno Garoupa

Nuno Garoupa

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Murat C. Mungan

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Date Written: May 4, 2019

Abstract

When considering the optimal combination of monetary sanctions (costless) and imprisonment (costly) as deterrents, the traditional result is that imprisonment should not be imposed until monetary sanctions are completely exhausted. Therefore, imprisonment acts as a mere supplement to maximal fines. We show that, when wealth varies across individuals, it could be efficient to use imprisonment in combination with fines that do not exhaust the wealth of all individuals. The rationale is that, generally, it is impractical to tailor criminal sanctions as a continuous function of individuals' wealth.

Keywords: Optimal Enforcement, Imprisonment, Fines

JEL Classification: K0, K4

Suggested Citation

Garoupa, Nuno and Mungan, Murat C., Optimal Imprisonment and Fines with Non-Discriminatory Sentences (May 4, 2019). George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 19-14. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3382839 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3382839

Nuno Garoupa

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

Murat C. Mungan (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

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