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Sensitivity Analyses of the Deterrence Hypothesis: Let's Keep the Econ in Econometrics

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  • Ehrlich, Isaac
  • Liu, Zhiqiang

Abstract

Leamer and McManus applied Extreme Bound Analysis (EBA) in an empirical study of the deterrent effects of capital punishment and other penalties. Their analysis has questioned the validity of the deterrence hypothesis. The thrust of our paper is twofold: first, by applying EBA to well-known econometric models of demand, production, and human-capital investment, our analysis exposes and illustrates the inherent flaws of EBA as a method of deriving valid inferences about model specification. Second, since the analysis shows Leamer and McManus's inferences about deterrence to be based on a flawed methodology, we offer an alternative, theory-based sensitivity analysis of estimated deterrent effects using similar data. Our analysis supports the deterrence hypothesis. More generally, it emphasizes the indispensable role of theory in guiding sensitivity analyses of model specification. Copyright 1999 by the University of Chicago.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Law & Economics.

Volume (Year): 42 (1999)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 455-87

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:42:y:1999:i:1:p:455-87

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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/

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Cited by:
  1. Jeffrey D. Kubik & John R. Moran, 2001. "Lethal Elections: Gubernatorial Politics and the Timing of Executions," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 40, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  2. Berit C. Gerritzen & Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2013. "Facts or Ideology: What Determines the Results of Econometric Estimates of the Deterrence Effect of Death Penalty? A Meta-Analysis," CESifo Working Paper Series 4159, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Paresh Narayan & Russell Smyth, . "Dead Man Walking: An Empirical Reassessment of the Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment Using the Bounds Testing Approach to Cointegration," American Law & Economics Association Annual Meetings 1028, American Law & Economics Association.
  4. Angrist, Joshua & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 2010. "The Credibility Revolution in Empirical Economics: How Better Research Design Is Taking the Con out of Econometrics," IZA Discussion Papers 4800, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Ehrlich, Isaac & Saito, Tetsuya, 2010. "Taxing guns vs. taxing crime: An application of the "market for offenses model"," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 670-689, September.
  6. Hashem Dezhbakhsh & Paul Rubin, 2011. "From the 'econometrics of capital punishment' to the 'capital punishment' of econometrics: on the use and abuse of sensitivity analysis," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(25), pages 3655-3670.
  7. Gary Mauser & Dennis Maki, 2003. "An evaluation of the 1977 Canadian firearm legislation: robbery involving a firearm," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(4), pages 423-436.
  8. Ethan Cohen-Cole & Steven Durlauf & Jeffrey Fagan & Daniel Nagin, 2007. "Model uncertainty and the deterrent effect of capital punishment," Risk and Policy Analysis Unit Working Paper QAU07-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  9. Yang, Bijou & Lester, David, 2008. "The deterrent effect of executions: A meta-analysis thirty years after Ehrlich," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 453-460, September.
  10. Makowsky, Michael, 2009. "Religious Extremism, Clubs, and Civil Liberties: A Model of Religious Populations," MPRA Paper 14358, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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