Reputational versus Beckerian Sanctions

21 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2020

See all articles by Claude Fluet

Claude Fluet

Université Laval

Murat C. Mungan

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Date Written: November 2, 2020


Punishment causes reputational losses in addition to more tangible losses. Lowering the probability of punishment reduces these reputational losses by diluting the informational value of verdicts. These considerations better align the positive as well as normative implications of law enforcement models with intuition and empirics: Crime is more responsive to the certainty rather than the severity of punishment even absent risk-seeking offenders (positive), which causes extreme Beckerian punishments to be inefficient when sanctions are socially costly to impose (normative). Moreover, in some cases optimal enforcement is 'anti-Beckerian': Punishment is symbolic and detection costs are incurred solely to provide reputational incentives.

Keywords: Optimal Deterrence, Law Enforcement, Beckerian Sanctions, Reputational Sanctions

Suggested Citation

Fluet, Claude-Denys and Mungan, Murat C., Reputational versus Beckerian Sanctions (November 2, 2020). George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 20-30, Available at SSRN: or

Claude-Denys Fluet

Université Laval ( email )

2214 Pavillon J-A. DeSeve
Quebec, Quebec G1K 7P4
1-418-656-2131, ext 3290 (Phone)

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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