EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Let the Punishment Fit the Criminal

Javier Donna and Jose Espin Sanchez

MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany

Abstract: We investigate the role of punishment progressivity and individual characteristics in the determination of crime. To analyze welfare implications we model individuals’ re- sponse to judges’ optimal punishment in a dynamic setting. We introduce two distinctive features motivated by our empirical setting. First, judges rarely imposes maximum pun- ishment for first time offenders. Instead, we observe low fines (or just a warning) even when crime detection technology is efficient and punishment is not costly. We account for this by allowing an unobservable (to the judge) individual state to be correlated with a public signal (the environment). This generates an optimal punishment that is conditional on individual observables. Second, judges punishments follow a progressive system: con- ditioning on type, recidivists are punished harsher than first-time offenders for the same crime. We account for these dynamics by introducing a persistent unobservable (to the judge) component. Judges update their beliefs about individuals depending on whether they committed a crime in the previous period; this gives rise to progressivity in the opti- mal punishment system. For the empirical analysis we examine a novel trial data set from a self-governed community of farmers in Southern Spain. We find that judges vary the degree of imposed punishments based on individual characteristics—such as when victims or accused have a Don honorific title indicating they are wealthy. Recidivists are punished harsher than first time offenders.

Keywords: Auctions; Contracts; Crime; Fines; Punishment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C13 D44 K14 K42 L14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-law
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/67003/1/MPRA_paper_67003.pdf original version (application/pdf)
https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/90053/9/MPRA_paper_90053.pdf revised version (application/pdf)
https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/91566/1/MPRA_paper_91566.pdf revised version (application/pdf)
https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/91593/1/MPRA_paper_91593.pdf revised version (application/pdf)
https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/93869/1/MPRA_paper_93869.pdf revised version (application/pdf)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:pra:mprapa:67003

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Joachim Winter ().

 
Page updated 2021-12-08
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:67003