NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Geoffrey Williams

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October 2010Institutional Requirements for Effective Imposition of Fines
with Anne Morrison Piehl: w16476
A long theoretical literature in economics addresses the heavy reliance of the U.S. criminal justice system on very expensive forms of punishment - prison - when cheaper alternatives - such as fines and other sanctions - are available. This paper analyzes the role of fines as a criminal sanction within the existing institutional structure of criminal justice agencies, modeling heterogeneity in how people respond to various sanctions and threat of sanctions. From research on the application of fines in the U.S., we conclude that fines are economical only in relation to other forms of punishment; for many crimes fines will work well for the majority of offenders but fail miserably for a significant minority; that fines present a number of very significant administrative challenges; and th...

Published: Institutional Requirements for Effective Imposition of Fines, Anne Morrison Piehl, Geoffrey Williams. in Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs, Cook, Ludwig, and McCrary. 2011

July 2010Institutional Requirements for Effective Imposition of Fines
with Anne Morrison Piehl
in Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs, Philip Cook, Jens Ludwig, Justin McCrary, editors

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers only

 
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