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Paying the Price for Being Caught: the Economics of Manifest and non-Manifest Theft in Roman Criminal Law

In Roman Law, manifest theft (essentially, the one in which a thief was caught in the act) was punished with a more severe penalty than non-manifest theft. This legal policy seems to contradict the multiplier principle and efficient deterrence. Apparently, we should expect the penalty for manifest theft to be lower than for non-manifest theft since the probability of detection and conviction is higher for the former and lower for the latter. In this paper, we provide several efficiency-based arguments to solve the puzzle.

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Fernando Gómez Pomar, Nuno Garoupa, «Paying the Price for Being Caught: the Economics of Manifest and non-Manifest Theft in Roman Criminal Law. », InDret 1.05