CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, August 31, 2012

Mungan on Escalating Punishment Schemes

Mungan muratMurat C. Mungan (Florida State University - College of Law) has posted A Behavioral Justification for Escalating Punishment Schemes on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The standard two-period law enforcement model is considered in a setting where individuals rarely lose self-control or commit crime without first comparing expected costs and benefits. Where escalating punishment schemes are present, there is an inherent value in keeping a clean criminal record; a person with a record may unintentionally become a repeat offender if he fails to exert self-control, and be punished more severely. If the punishment for repeat offenders is sufficiently high, one may rationally forgo the opportunity of committing a profitable crime today to avoid being sanctioned as a repeat offender in the future. Therefore, partial deterrence can be achieved at a very low cost through the use of escalating penalties, providing a behavioral justification for punishing repeat offenders more severely.

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