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A note on crime and punishment

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Conclusion

The models developed here are intended to convince the reader that Tsebelis' results — that increased punishment leaves the equilibrium level of crime unchanged — is an example of what is possible rather than a general result. To recap the argument in words: it is true that raising the penalty on a crime may cause the enforcing agency to divert attention away to other matters, so that theexpected penalty facing the prospective criminal is not as high as it would have been had the agency not adjusted; but it is not generally true that enforcing agencies will choose to lower their probabilities of enforcement just enough to exactly offset the increased penalty, leaving the expected penalty unchanged, hence the equilibrium level of crime unchanged.8 this result sounds unusual when stated in words and it is when modelled using the theory of games too.

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References

  1. Bianco, W.T. (1990). Crime and punishment.American Political Science Review 84: 569–573.

  2. Hirshleifer, J. and Rasmussen, E. (1991). Are equilibrium strategies unaffected by incentives? The police game. Unpublished manuscript. University of California, Los Angeles.

  3. Ordeshook, P.C. (1990). Crime and punishment.American Political Science Review 84: 573–575.

  4. Rapoport, A. Comments on Tsebelis.Rationality and Society 2: 508–511.

  5. Tsebelis, G. (1989). The abuse of probability in political analysis: The Robinson Crusoe Fallacy.American Political Science Review 83: 77–92.

  6. Tsebelis. B. (1990a). Crime and punishment.American Political Science Review 84: 576–586.

  7. Tsebelis, G. (1990b). Are sanctions effective? A game theoretic analysis.Journal of Conflict Resolution 34: 3–28.

  8. Tsebelis, G. (1990c). Penalty has no impact on crime: A game theoretic analysis.Rationality and Society 2: 255–286.

  9. Tsebelis, G. (1991). The effect of fines on regulated industries.Journal of Theoretical Politics 3: 81–101.

  10. Tullock, G. (1991). The effect of fines on regulated industries: Game theory vs. decision theory.Journal of Theoretical Politics 3: 81–101.

  11. Weissing, F. and Ostrom, E. (1991). Crime and punishment.Journal of Theoretical Politics 3: 343–349.

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Additional information

This work was supported by NSF grant SES-9022882.

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Cox, G.W. A note on crime and punishment. Public Choice 78, 115–124 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01053369

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Keywords

  • General Result
  • Public Finance
  • Equilibrium Level
  • Prospective Criminal