Penalty Enhancement for Hate Crimes: An Economic Analysis
Posted: 31 Oct 2003
This paper develops an economic analysis of penalty enhancements for bias-motivated (or "hate") crimes. Our model allows potential offenders' benefits from a crime to depend on the victim's group identity, and assumes that potential victims have the opportunity to undertake socially costly victimization avoidance activities. We derive the result that a pattern of crimes disproportionately targeting an identifiable group leads to greater social harm (even when the harm to an individual victim from a bias-motivated crime is identical to that from an equivalent non-hate crime). In addition, we consider a number of other issues related to hate crime laws.
Keywords: Law enforcement, hate crimes, penalty enhancement
JEL Classification: K14, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation