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Does it matter who extorts? Extortion by competent and incompetent enforcers

Andrew Samuel and Ajit Mishra

Scottish Journal of Political Economy, 2022, vol. 69, issue 3, 328-344

Abstract: This paper offers a novel explanation for extortion, which is the practice of demanding payments from compliant agents by law‐enforcement officers. Namely, that extortion occurs due to the officer's incompetence, where the competence level is endogenous. Because competence improves enforcement, extortion affects deterrence directly by weakening agents' incentive to be compliant and indirectly by affecting officers' incentives to become competent. Accordingly, the harmful effects of extortion on deterrence depend on whether the competent or incompetent officer extorts. We show that extortion by incompetent officers is the lesser of the two evils, compared to bribery.

Date: 2022
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Scottish Journal of Political Economy is currently edited by Tim Barmby, Andrew Hughes-Hallett and Campbell Leith

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