NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

A Model of Optimal Fines for Repeat Offenders

A. Mitchell Polinsky, Daniel L. Rubinfeld

NBER Working Paper No. 3739 (Also Reprint No. r1824)
Issued in June 1991
NBER Program(s):   LE

This paper analyzes optimal fines in a model in which individuals can commit up to two offenses. The fine for the second offense is allowed to differ from the fine for the first offense. There are four natural cases in the model, defined by assumptions about the gains to individuals from committing the offense. In the case fully analyzed it may be optimal to punish repeat offenders more severely than first-time offenders. In another case, it may be optimal to impose less severe penalties on repeat offenders. And in the two remaining cases, the optimal penalty does not change.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w3739

Published: Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 46, No. 3, pp. 291-306, (December 1991)

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