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Public law enforcers and political competition

Éric Langlais and Marie Obidzinski

No 2015-40, EconomiX Working Papers from University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX

Abstract: In this paper, we analyze how political competition affects the designof public law enforcement policies. Assuming that the cost of enforcement is linear, criminals'type is uniformally distributed, and society's wealth is large enough, the article arrives at two main conclusions: 1) electoral competition entails no loss of efficiency at equilibrium for both minor and major offenses (e.g. minor offenses are not enforced, while major ones are fully deterred); 2) different distortions arises at equilibrium for the intermediate offenses: enforcement expenditures for small offenses are lower than the optimal level, such that the issue of under-deterrence is exacerbated; in contrast, for larger offenses, enforcement measures are higher, and there is more deterrence than what efficiency requires. We show that these results also holds under more general assumptions (convex costs of enforcement, a general cdf of illegal bene.ts, a lower society's wealth), excepted that full deterrence of major offenses is not achievable.

Keywords: public law enforcement; deterrence; monetary sanctions; electoral competition. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 D73 H1 K14 K23 K4 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 25 pages
Date: 2015
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-mic and nep-pol
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