Escalating Penalties for Repeat Offenders

16 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2003

See all articles by Winand Emons

Winand Emons

University of Bern - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Date Written: December 2003

Abstract

Agents may commit a crime twice. The act is inefficient so that the agents are to be deterred. Even if an agent is law abiding, they may still commit the act accidentally. The agents are wealth constrained. The government seeks to minimize the probability of apprehension. If the benefit from the crime is small, the optimal sanction scheme is decreasing in the number of offenses. In contrast, if the benefit is large, sanctions are increasing in the number of offenses. Increasing sanctions do not make the criminal track less attractive; they make honesty more attractive.

JEL Classification: D82, K41, K42

Suggested Citation

Emons, Winand, Escalating Penalties for Repeat Offenders (December 2003). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=481165

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