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Title: The Economics of Bail Setting and Social Welfare
Authors: Lim, B.-T. 
Quah, E.
Tan, K.-C.
Issue Date: 2006
Citation: Lim, B.-T., Quah, E., Tan, K.-C. (2006). The Economics of Bail Setting and Social Welfare. International Review of Law and Economics 25 (4) : 592-603. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: In most jurisdictions, there is a statutory preference for releasing on bail an accused in custody that has not yet been convicted unless the accused is charged with very serious offence like homicide. Nonetheless, the courts are vested with the powers to decide on the quantum of bail or to even refuse bail outright. To induce the defendant to surrender for trial [Lim, B.-T., & Quah, E. (1998). Economics of bail setting. Bulletin of Economic Research, 257-264] demonstrate that the bail quantum should be based on the expected cost of punishment and the probability of re-arrest if the defendant jumps bail. However, there are costs to society if the defendant absconds, which include, inter alia, the cost of re-arresting the defendant. In this paper, we derive the optimal bail quantum on the assumption that the probability of re-arrest and the penalty for absconding are chosen by the courts whose objective function is to minimize the sum of the expected harm to society and the net costs to law enforcement if the defendant jumps bail. The cost and benefit of being released on bail are examined. A model is proposed which may be useful to the court officials in bail setting as an effective means to secure the defendant's attendance at trial as well as to achieve social equity. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Source Title: International Review of Law and Economics
ISSN: 01448188
DOI: 10.1016/j.irle.2005.12.005
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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