THE THEORY OF PENALTIES AND THE ECONOMICS OF CRIMINAL LAW

Keith N. Hylton

Boston University School of Law Working Paper 02-17

Abstract

This paper presents a model of penalties that reconciles the conflicting accounts optimal punishment by Becker, who argued penalties should internalize social costs, and Posner, who suggested penalties should completely deter offenses. The model delivers specific recommendations as to when penalties should be set to internalize social costs and when they should be set to completely deter offensive conduct. I use the model to generate a positive account of the function and scope of criminal law doctrines, such as intent, necessity, and rules governing the distinction between torts and crimes. The model is also consistent with the history of criminal penalties set out by Adam Smith.

 

Size: 414 KB
Est. download time @ 28.8K: 14 seconds


Adobe Acrobat Reader v3.01 or greater is required to view this paper.
To obtain a free copy, click the button below



Keith N. Hylton Contact Information

knhylton@bu.edu
Boston University School of Law
765 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA 02215
USA
(617) 353-8959

SSRN Site

http://www.ssrn.com/abstract=337460

Presentation and Publication Information:

To be announced.

Click here to close this window.