Eric Langlais, CEREFIGE, University Nancy 2, 4 rue de la Ravinelle, CO 7026, 54035 Nancy, France (Eric.Langlais@univ-nancy2.fr).
Detection Avoidance and Deterrence: Some Paradoxical Arithmetic
Version of Record online: 1 MAY 2008
© 2008 Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
Journal of Public Economic Theory
Volume 10, Issue 3, pages 371–382, June 2008
How to Cite
LANGLAIS, E. (2008), Detection Avoidance and Deterrence: Some Paradoxical Arithmetic. Journal of Public Economic Theory, 10: 371–382. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9779.2008.00367.x
I am thankful to the referee and the associated editor of the journal for helpful comments and suggestions. Yannick Gabuthy also provided useful remarks on a previous draft of the paper, and Jenny Monheim has afforded assistance.
- Issue online: 1 MAY 2008
- Version of Record online: 1 MAY 2008
- Received June 28, 2006; Accepted April 2, 2007.
This paper extends Malik's analysis to the case where criminals' avoidance efforts and public expenditures in the detection of criminals are strategic complements in the aggregate technology of control of illegal behaviors. In this set up, we show that whenever criminals' avoidance efforts are more sensitive to the frequency than to the severity of sanctions, it is always socially efficient to set the fine at the maximal possible level. However, several paradoxical consequences occur: there may exist overdeterrence at optimum; more repressive policies lead to fewer arrests of offenders while more crimes may be committed; at the same time, the society may be closer to the first best number of crimes.