My recent article with John Bronsteen and Jonathan Masur, Happiness and Punishment, has recently appeared in the University of Chicago Law Review. Please email me if you’re interested in receiving a reprint.
In addition, an editorial-style version of the article has just appeared online in The Legal Workshop. Here’s the first paragraph from the article:
New findings in hedonic psychology have implications for punishment theory. Specifically, these findings suggest that criminals adapt surprisingly well to fines and even to incarceration, but that incarceration negatively affects post-prison life in ways that tend to be unadaptable. These results increase the difficulty of using adjustments in the size of a fine or the length of a prison sentence to tailor a punishment to fit a crime. Because such adjustments are our primary means of crafting proportional punishments, and because such proportionality is important to retributive and utilitarian theories of punishment, a problem with their effectiveness could necessitate a rethinking of penal assumptions.