14 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2003
This essay is a new chapter in An Introduction to Law and Economics (Third Edition, forthcoming 2003). It discusses how the state should determine the length of a jail term to impose on an individual if he has committed a crime and how much to spend on trying to catch criminals. The analysis focuses on the implications of the cost of detection and the cost of operating and maintaining jails. The optimal probability and magnitude of the sentence are shown to depend on how rapidly the disutility from time in jail rises with the length of the jail sentence.
Keywords: law enforcement, imprisonment, sanctions, crime, jail term
JEL Classification: K14, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Polinsky, A. Mitchell, Law Enforcement Using Imprisonment. AN INTRODUCTION TO LAW AND ECONOMICS, Third Edition, 2003 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=413642 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.413642