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Any-Where Any-Time: Ambiguity and the Perceived Probability of Apprehension

By E. (Elena) Kantorowicz-Reznichenko


Enforcement is a costly endeavor. Thus, governments ought to be innovative in designing less costly policies, yet, effective in preventing crime. To this end, this paper suggests using insights from behavioral law and economics. Empirical evidence demonstrates that police have an important effect in deterring crime. However, increasing the number of policemen is a costly policy. Therefore, this paper explores policy changes, which exploit offender’s ambiguity aversion in order to reduce crime without increasing the police force. Namely, empirical evidence suggests that criminals are better deterred by ambiguous detection. Thus, this paper analyzes the ways to randomize the apprehension strategies to meet this end. Furthermore, it provides new evidence, based on a survey carried out for the purpose of this paper, that potential violators are largely not aware of policy changes. Inasmuch as the information regarding the intensified uncertainty is essential to its success, this paper discusses the possibility to increase criminals’ awareness through the “availability heuristic.

Year: 2015
OAI identifier: oai:repub.eur.nl:93071

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