It is commonly assumed that potential offenders are more responsive to increases in the certainty than increases in the severity of punishment. An important implication of this assumption within the Beckerian law enforcement model is that criminals are risk-seeking. This note adds to existing literature by showing that offenders who discount future monetary benefits can be more responsive to the certainty rather than the severity of punishment, even when they are risk averse, and even when their disutility from imprisonment rises proportionally (or more than proportionally) with the length of the sentence.
Crime, deterrence, risk, punishment, discounting
Review of Law & Economics
Mungan, Murat C. and Klick, Jonathan, "Discounting and Criminals' Implied Risk Preferences" (2015). All Faculty Scholarship. 1018.
Behavioral Economics Commons, Criminal Procedure Commons, Criminology Commons, Criminology and Criminal Justice Commons, Law and Economics Commons, Law and Society Commons, Law Enforcement and Corrections Commons, Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation Commons, Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance Commons, Social Policy Commons, Social Statistics Commons