The Effects of the Fourth Amendment: A Strategic Model of Crime and Search

28 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2005

See all articles by Hugo M. Mialon

Hugo M. Mialon

Emory University - Department of Economics

Sue H. Mialon

Emory University

Date Written: June 29, 2005

Abstract

The Fourth Amendment requires police to have probable cause before searching people or their property in criminal investigations. In practice, it is enforced through the exclusionary rule: if police search without probable cause, any evidence found in the search may be excluded from court. We analyze the effects of this rule on equilibrium elements of social welfare in a strategic model of crime and search. The rule always increases crime. But it has two opposing effects on police searches. It directly reduces them by reducing the chances that they lead to successful conviction, but it also indirectly increases them by increasing crime. If the indirect effect dominates, the rule actually increases searches, and has an ambiguous effect on wrongful searches. If the direct effect dominates, it reduces searches and wrongful searches. In contrast, direct police accountability for wrongful searches unambiguously reduces searches and wrongful searches.

Keywords: Fourth amendment, crime, search, accountability

JEL Classification: K42, H10

Suggested Citation

Mialon, Hugo M. and Mialon, Sue H., The Effects of the Fourth Amendment: A Strategic Model of Crime and Search (June 29, 2005). Emory Law and Economics Research Paper No. 05-15, Emory Public Law Research Paper No. 06-03, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=755035 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.755035

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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