We analyze an oligopoly model in which differentiated criminal organizations globally compete on criminal activities and engage in local corruption to avoid punishment. When bribing costs are low, that is badly-paid and dishonest law enforcers work in a weak governance environment, and the rents from criminal activity are sufficiently high, we find that increasing policing and sanctions can generate higher crime rates. Indeed, beyond a threshold, further increases in intended expected punishment create incentives for organized crime to extend corruption rings, and ensuing impunity results in a fall of actual expected punishment that yields more rather than less crime.
- Free entry
- Organized crime