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Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die? An Analysis of Prisoners on Death Row in the United States

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  • Laura M. Argys
  • H. Naci Mocan

Abstract

Using data on the entire population of prisoners under a sentence of death in the United States between 1977 and 1997, this paper investigates the probability of transition from death row to various possible outcomes (execution, death by other causes, commutation, and overturned sentence or conviction) in any given year, as well as the probability of commutation when reaching the end of death row. The analyses control for personal characteristics and previous criminal record of death row inmates and a number of characteristics of the state where the inmate is in custody, inculding variables that measure the degree to which the political process enters into the final outcome in a death penalty case. The results show that who lives and who dies on death row depends on the race and gender of the inmate, the race and political affiliation of the governor, and whether the governor is a lame duck.

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File URL: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/resolve?id=doi:10.1086/421570
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Legal Studies.

Volume (Year): 33 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (06)
Pages: 255-282

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:33:y:2004:p:255-282

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

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Cited by:
  1. Naci Mocan & Erdal Tekin, 2006. "Ugly Criminals," NBER Working Papers 12019, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Naci Mocan & Kaj Gittings, 2010. "The Impact of Incentives on Human Behavior: Can We Make it Disappear? The Case of the Death Penalty," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Crime: Lessons for and from Latin America, pages 379-418 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Sarah Marx Quintanar, . "Man vs. Machine: An Investigation of Speeding Ticket Disparities Based on Gender and Race," Departmental Working Papers 2009-16, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
  4. Loureiro, Paulo R.A. & Mendonça, Mário Jorge Cardoso de & Moreira, Tito Belchior Silva & Sachsida, Adolfo, 2009. "Crime, economic conditions, social interactions and family heritage," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 202-209, September.
  5. H. Naci Mocan & R. Kaj Gittings, 2001. "Pardons, Executions and Homicide," NBER Working Papers 8639, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2011. "A Test of Racial Bias in Capital Sentencing," Working Papers 387, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.

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