The Complementary Role of Distributive and Criminal Equity

Massimo D'Antoni (Università di Siena)
Avraham Tabbach (Tel-Aviv University)


We provide a theoretical examination on how the distribution of wealth in society affects the social costs of crime and law enforcement. We show that a reduction in inequality reduces these costs when enforcement and non-monetary punishment are equitable, i.e., they do not discriminate among offenders based on their wealth. However, when enforcement or non-monetary punishment is discriminatory, a reduction in inequality may increase the social costs of crime and law enforcement, in particular when it occurs among poorer individuals. Thus, there is a complementarity between equity in criminal justice and distributional equity.

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