Law and Economics of Plea-Bargaining

28 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2006

See all articles by Nuno Garoupa

Nuno Garoupa

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Frank Stephen

School of Law, University of Manchester

Date Written: July 2006

Abstract

Although highly criticized by legal scholars, plea-bargaining is probably the most transplanted instrument of criminal procedure. In contrast to most of the legal literature, Law and Economics is quite optimistic about it. In this paper, we take the view that such optimism is not well founded. Our approach is based on the view of plea-bargaining as part of a nexus of relationships that undermines the efficiency argument. In particular, we find it quite important to assess the defendant's lawyer's incentives and the prosecutor's goals, both of which are rather neglected in Law and Economics. Other aspects we consider are the interests of the victims and judicial scrutiny. Our conclusions temper the usual Law and Economics optimism.

Keywords: Plea-Bargaining, Defendant, Prosecution, Judicial Scrutiny

JEL Classification: K4

Suggested Citation

Garoupa, Nuno and Stephen, Frank H., Law and Economics of Plea-Bargaining (July 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=917922 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.917922

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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