Public Choice

, Volume 148, Issue 3–4, pp 611–630 | Cite as

The political economy of the environmental criminal justice system: a production function approach

  • Christian AlmerEmail author
  • Timo Goeschl


The criminal justice system combines at least three distinct institutions, police, prosecutors, and courts, in order to enforce key regulations. Focusing on criminal environmental law contained in the German Penal Code, this paper empirically studies the determinants of enforcement decisions at the levels of the police, prosecutors, and judges using a production function approach. We focus particularly on the role of economic and political factors and their comparison across institutions. The results of the panel data analysis show evidence for the presence of economic factors determining behavior at all levels. Political factors impact especially on police and court behavior.


Criminal enforcement Political economy Environmental law GMM 

JEL Classification

K42 K32 D78 C23 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and Oeschger Centre for Climate Change ResearchUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

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