The Role of Moral Values in the Economic Analysis of Crime: A General Equilibrium Approach
In this paper, we develop a general equilibrium model of crime and show that law enforcement has different roles depending on the equilibrium characterization and the value of social norms. When an economy has a unique stable equilibrium where a fraction of the population is productive and the remaining predates, the government can choose an optimal law enforcement policy to maximize a welfare function evaluated at the steady state. If such steady state is not unique, law enforcement is still relevant but in a completely different way because the steady state that prevails depends on the initial proportions of productive and predator individuals in the economy. The relative importance of these proportions can be changed through law enforcement policy.
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