Optimal Law Enforcement with Legal Aid

8 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2004

See all articles by Nuno Garoupa

Nuno Garoupa

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Frank Stephen

School of Law, University of Manchester

Abstract

The economic literature on enforcement is generally pessimistic concerning the use of legal aid. In this paper we show that legal aid can be a part of optimal law enforcement. The rationale behind our result is that with legal aid, in a system with legal or judicial error both guilty and innocent individuals are better off, because the marginal cost of defence expenditure is reduced. If, on average, legal aid helps the innocent more than the guilty, a government seeking to maximize social welfare will want to use it in order to increase deterrence.

Suggested Citation

Garoupa, Nuno and Stephen, Frank H., Optimal Law Enforcement with Legal Aid. Economica, Vol. 71, No. 283, pp. 493-500, August 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=562275

Nuno Garoupa (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

Frank H. Stephen

School of Law, University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester M13 9PL, M139PL
Great Britain

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