A theory of optimal random crackdowns

Jan Eeckhout*, Nicola Persico, Petra E. Todd

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


An incentives based theory of policing is developed which can explain the phenomenon of random "crackdowns," i.e., intermittent periods of high interdiction/surveillance. For a variety of police objective functions, random crackdowns can be part of the optimal monitoring strategy. We demonstrate support for implications of the crackdown theory using traffic data gathered by the Belgian Police Department and use the model to estimate the deterrence effect of additional resources spent on speeding interdiction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1104-1135
Number of pages32
JournalAmerican Economic Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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