The Economics of the Fourth Amendment: Crime, Search, and Anti-Utopia

37 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2004

See all articles by Hugo M. Mialon

Hugo M. Mialon

Emory University - Department of Economics

Sue H. Mialon

Emory University

Date Written: July 4, 2004

Abstract

We develop a strategic model of crime and punishment. We then give the Fourth Amendment formal expression in terms of the model, and analyze its effect on equilibrium elements of social welfare. In one parameter range, the Fourth Amendment actually increases police search, and has an ambiguous effect on wrongful searches. But in the other intermediate range, it reduces police search and wrongful searches. In both ranges, it increases crime but reduces wrongful convictions. Moreover, a strong Fourth Amendment and strict police accountability are jointly sufficient for ongoing progress in search technology to ultimately lead to an extreme parameter range where the stable equilibrium is Utopian, in the sense that the police never search without probable cause and most citizens do not commit crime.

Keywords: Crime and Punishment, Game Theory, Search, Fourth Amendment

JEL Classification: K42, C72, D83, H10, O30, Z11

Suggested Citation

Mialon, Hugo M. and Mialon, Sue H., The Economics of the Fourth Amendment: Crime, Search, and Anti-Utopia (July 4, 2004). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=591667 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.591667

Hugo M. Mialon (Contact Author)

Emory University - Department of Economics ( email )

1602 Fishburne Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

Sue H. Mialon

Emory University ( email )

Department of Economics
1602 Fishburne Dr.
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-712-8169 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.suemialon.net

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