The Optimum Enforcement of Laws

  title={The Optimum Enforcement of Laws},
  author={George Joseph Stigler},
  journal={Journal of Political Economy},
  pages={526 - 536}
  • G. Stigler
  • Published 1 May 1970
  • Law
  • Journal of Political Economy
All prescriptions of behavior for individuals require enforcement. Usually the obligation to behave in a prescribed way is entered into voluntarily by explicit or implicit contract. For example, I promise to teach certain classes with designated frequency and to discuss matters which I, and possibly others, believe are relevant to the course titles. By negotiation, and in the event of its failure, by legal action, I and my employer seek to enforce the contract of employment against large… 
A Theory of Contractual Incompleteness based on Judicial Agency
Ex ante contractual agreements between parties must necessarily be enforced by an enforcing authority ex post. If the enforcing authority turns out to be opportunistic, the initial contract de...nes
Contracting in the Presence of Judicial Agency
While a key function of contracts is to provide incentives, the incentives of judges to enforce the terms of a contract have rarely been examined. This paper develops a simple model of judicial
Private Enforcement and Market Regulation
The article examines the technique of private enforcement as a juridical instrument to protect the market in combination with the punitive sanction mechanisms of public law. After a first definition
The Market for Regulatory Enforcement
Enforcement is a neglected topic in the economics of regulation. The formal analysis of regulatory standards invariably assumes that all firms comply with the law and, implicitly, that enforcement is
Deterrence and Uncertain Legal Standards
When private parties know exactly what a legal rule requires of them, sufficiently large penalties combined with a sufficiently high probability that violations will be penalized should create
Selective enforcement of regulation
Economic Analysis of Public Law Enforcement and Criminal Law
This paper contains the chapters on public enforcement of law and on criminal law from a general, forthcoming book, Foundations of Economic Analysis of Law (Harvard University Press, 2003). By public
Law and Economics of Criminal Antitrust Enforcement: An Introduction
Competition laws are set to maintain and protect the competitive process and allow society to reap its fruits in the form of high quality goods and services at low prices. A working competitive


Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach
  • J.P.E