The Exclusionary Rule Revisited
34 Pages Posted: 28 May 2020
Date Written: May 25, 2020
We revisit the economic theory of exclusionary rules. First, we show that more exclusion may induce enforcers to conduct more searches, contrary to the standard notion that more exclusion leads to fewer searches. Second, we identify and investigate the complexities that arise when enforcers may harass suspects (imposing significant costs without legal proceedings) instead of conducting legal searches. If one attempts to choose the optimal exclusionary rule naïvely (for example, by ignoring the possibility of harassment by enforcers), the chosen rule will exclude evidence more often than is optimal. We explore social welfare considerations and discuss policy implications based on our formal results.
Keywords: Exclusionary rule, innocent suspects, harassment, deterrence
JEL Classification: K0, K4
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation