Optimal Law Enforcement with a Rent-Seeking Government
Posted: 29 Feb 2008
This article analyzes public and private law enforcement when the government is motivated by rent seeking. A rent-seeking government seeks primarily to maximize revenue. The article concludes as follows: (1) if offenders have sufficient wealth, a rent-seeking government is more aggressive than a social-welfare-maximizing government in enforcing laws against minor crimes (such as parking violations) but more lax in enforcing laws against major crimes; (2) competitive private enforcement is usually better and never worse than monopolistic private enforcement; (3) The choice between competitive private enforcement and public enforcement depends on which is cheaper and on the severity of the offense.
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