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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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  1. 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.
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  12. Reinganum, Jennifer F., 1986. "Plea Bargaining and Prosecutorial Discretion," Working Papers 616, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  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. Philippe Delacote & Lydie Ancelot, 2009. "Prosecutor and lawyers in plea bargaining with complete information," Working Papers 30422, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.
  15. 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.
  16. George Baker & Robert Gibbons & Kevin J. Murphy, 1993. "Subjective Performance Measures in Optimal Incentive Contracts," NBER Working Papers 4480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Leshem Shmuel, 2009. "Contingent Fees, Signaling and Settlement Authority," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 435-460, June.
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  19. Jennifer Reinganum, 2000. "Sentencing Guidelines, Judicial Discretion, and Plea Bargaining," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 31(1), pages 62-81, Spring.
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Citations

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

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