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When is a Socially Undesirable Act a Sanctionable Act? Theory and an Extension to Comparing Environmental Policies

By Dale Thompson


: Should society sanction all socially undesirable acts? Because there are social costs associated with the institutions that support sanctions, it is not necessarily preferable to sanction all undesirable acts. In other words, not all socially undesirable acts are sanctionable acts. This article presents a condition that is necessary and sufficient for a socially undesirable act to be considered a sanctionable act. This article extends the usefulness of this sanctionability condition by using it as the foundation of a comparative policy analysis framework. This framework offers certain advantages when comparing policies that are significantly affected by the institutions that support them. This institutional cost framework is then used to compare environmental policies. The sanctionability condition offered here is thus useful in determining whether an undesirable act is worthy of a sanction against it. If so, this sanctionability condition can then help us identify policies that wil..

Year: 2007
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