THE THEORY OF PENALTIES AND THE ECONOMICS OF CRIMINAL LAW |
Keith N. Hylton
Boston University School of Law Working Paper 02-17
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.
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Keith N. Hylton Contact Information
Boston University School of Law
765 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA 02215
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