Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello

Act-Based Sanctions

  • Marie ObidzinskiEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_599


An act-based sanction punishes actions independently of the actual occurrence of harm. On the opposite, harm-based sanctions are imposed when harm occurs. When harm is certain, the distinction between act-based and harm-based sanctions is not relevant. On the opposite, when harm is probable, it is worth distinguishing act and harm based sanctions. In a basic public law enforcement framework, optimal deterrence can be achieved by both types of sanctions. This statement does not hold when potential offenders either have limited assets or are risk adverse or can invest in avoidance activities. Again, this assertion is not true when punishment is costly.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CREDUniversité Panthéon-Assas Paris IIParisFrance