Tuesday, January 14, 2014
This article investigates the effects of type-I errors on the optimal punishment of attempts. It presents law enforcement models where the punishment of attempts leads to an increased risk of wrongful convictions. It shows that once such risks are considered, unlike suggested in the previous literature, it is not always desirable to punish attempts whenever the punishment of accomplished crimes is unable to provide adequate deterrence. This result is supported when optimal deterrence is assumed to be the only goal as well as when there are separate costs associated with the conviction of innocent individuals. The presence of type-I error costs also imply that a degree of under-deterrence is optimal.