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Prosecutorial Retention: Signaling by Trial

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  • Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay
  • Bryan C McCannon

Abstract

We examine how retention motives affect prosecutor behaviour under different evaluation criteria. In particular, we analyze how prosecutors of differing capabilities respond in choosing which cases to take to trail and which to plea bargain. We show how different criteria distort the mix of cases chosen for trail and that the direction of the distortion depends crucially on the evaluation tool used. Optimal evaluation metrics are derived that combine multiple signals of performance and are shown to achieve the first-best outcome.

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File URL: ftp://ftp.bham.ac.uk/pub/RePEc/pdf/10-11.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Birmingham in its series Discussion Papers with number 10-11.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bir:birmec:10-11

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Postal: Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT
Web page: http://www.economics.bham.ac.uk
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Related research

Keywords: plea bargaining; prosecutor evaluation; retention; signaling;

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References

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  1. Eric Rasmusen & Manu Raghav, & Mark Ramseyer, 2008. "Convictions versus Conviction Rates: The Prosecutor’s Choice," Working Papers 2008-16, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  2. Stephen Coate & Timothy Besley, 2000. "Elected versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7579, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Richard T. Boylan, 2005. "What Do Prosecutors Maximize? Evidence from the Careers of U.S. Attorneys," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 379-402.
  4. Baker, George & Gibbons, Robert & Murphy, Kevin J, 1994. "Subjective Performance Measures in Optimal Incentive Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 1125-56, November.
  5. Reinganum, Jennifer F, 1988. "Plea Bargaining and Prosecutorial Discretion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 713-28, September.
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  7. Baker, Scott & Mezzetti, Claudio, 2001. "Prosecutorial Resources, Plea Bargaining, and the Decision to Go to Trial," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(1), pages 149-67, April.
  8. Nuno Garoupa, 2008. "Some reflections on the economics of prosecutors: Mandatory v selective prosecution," Working Papers 2008-04, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales.
  9. Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay & Mandar Oak, 2010. "Conflict and Leadership: Why is There a Hawkish Drift in Politics?," Discussion Papers 10-04, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
  10. Jennifer Reinganum, 2000. "Sentencing Guidelines, Judicial Discretion, and Plea Bargaining," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(1), pages 62-81, Spring.
  11. Kenneth Rogoff, 1987. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," NBER Working Papers 2428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Kenneth Rogoff & Anne Sibert, 1986. "Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles," NBER Working Papers 1838, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. David Bjerk, 2007. "Guilt Shall Not Escape or Innocence Suffer? The Limits of Plea Bargaining When Defendant Guilt is Uncertain," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 305-329.
  14. Hanssen, F Andrew, 1999. "The Effect of Judicial Institutions on Uncertainty and the Rate of Litigation: The Election versus Appointment of State Judges," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 205-32, January.
  15. Philippe Delacote & Lydie Ancelot, 2009. "Prosecutor and lawyers in plea bargaining with complete information," Working Papers 30422, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.
  16. Leshem Shmuel, 2009. "Contingent Fees, Signaling and Settlement Authority," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 435-460, June.
  17. Hanssen, F Andrew, 2000. "Independent Courts and Administrative Agencies: An Empirical Analysis of the States," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 534-71, October.
  18. Coate, Stephen & Morris, Stephen, 1995. "On the Form of Transfers in Special Interests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1210-35, December.
  19. Grossman, Gene M & Katz, Michael L, 1983. "Plea Bargaining and Social Welfare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 749-57, September.
  20. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay & Bryan C McCannon, 2011. "The Redistricting of Public Prosecutors' Offices," Discussion Papers 11-13, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
  2. Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay & Manaswini Bhalla & Kalysan Chatterjee & Jaideep Roy, 2014. "Ideological Dissent in Downsian Politics," Discussion Papers 14-04, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
  3. Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay & Bryan C McCannon, 2011. "The Effect of the Election of Prosecutors on Criminal Trials," Discussion Papers 11-08, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.

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