NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Enforcement Costs and the Optimal Magnitude and Probability of Fines

A. Mitchell Polinsky, Steven Shavell

NBER Working Paper No. 3429 (Also Reprint No. r1819)
Issued in September 1990
NBER Program(s):   LS

Some of the costs of enforcing laws are fixed" - - in the sense that they do not depend on the number of individuals who commit harmful acts- -while other costs are "variable"- - they rise with the number of such individuals. This article analyzes the effects of fixed and variable enforcement costs on the optimal fine and the optimal probability of detection. It is shown that the optimal fine rises to reflect variable enforcement costs; that the optimal fine is not directly affected by fixed enforcement costs; and that the optimal probability depends on both types of enforcement costs.

download in pdf format
   (176 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (176 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w3429

Published: Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 35, No. 1, (April 1992), pp.133-148 citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Stigler The Optimum Enforcement of Laws
Polinsky w0338 Private versus Public Enforcement of Fines
Polinsky and Shavell w6993 The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law
Becker Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach
Kaplow w3008 The Optimal Probability and Magnitude of Fines for Acts that Definitely are Undesirable
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us