Efficient Institutions and Effective Deterrence: On Timing and Uncertainty of Formal Sanctions
Eugen Dimant (),
Ann-Christin Posten and
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Johannes Buckenmaier: University of Zurich
Ann-Christin Posten: University of Cologne
Ulrich Schmidt: Kiel Institute for the World Economy
Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 2021, vol. 62, issue 2, No 4, 177-201
Abstract Economic theory suggests that the deterrence of deviant behavior is driven by a combination of severity and certainty of punishment. This paper presents the first controlled experiment to study a third important factor that has been mainly overlooked: the swiftness of formal sanctions. We consider two dimensions: the timing at which the uncertainty about whether one will be punished is dissolved and the timing at which the punishment is actually imposed, as well as the combination thereof. By varying these dimensions of delay systematically, we find a surprising non-monotonic relation with deterrence: either no delay (immediate resolution and immediate punishment) or maximum delay (both resolution and punishment as much as possible delayed) emerge as most effective at deterring deviant behavior and recidivism. Our results yield implications for the design of institutional policies aimed at mitigating misconduct and reducing recidivism.
Keywords: Deterrence; Institutions; Punishment; Swiftness; Uncertainty (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D02 D81 K42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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Working Paper: Efficient Institutions and Effective Deterrence: On Timing and Uncertainty of Formal Sanctions (2021)
Working Paper: Efficient Institutions and Effective Deterrence: On Timing and Uncertainty of Formal Sanctions (2020)
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