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Econometric Estimates of Deterrence of the Death Penalty: Facts or Ideology?

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  • Gebhard Kirchgässner

Abstract

In 2007, the Wall Street Journal published an article claiming that each execution saves more than 70 lives. This example is used to show how easy it is, using simple or advanced econometric techniques, to produce results that do or do not support the deterrence hypothesis. Moreover, we also point to some puzzles which have not been satisfactorily solved so far. We then present a critical survey of the papers published in the last ten years. It is shown how simple changes can produce quite different results using the same data. Finally, we draw some conclusions about the usefulness of statistical arguments in policy debates, but also on the moral questions involved in this particular debate.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3443.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3443

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Keywords: death penalty; deterrence; econometric evidence; ideology;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Kirchgässner, Gebhard, 2012. "Zur Rolle der Ökonometrie in der wissenschaftlichen Politikberatung," Economics Working Paper Series 1223, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
  2. Philipp Mandel & Bernd Süssmuth, 2011. "Total Instructional Time Exposure and Student Achievement: An Extreme Bounds Analysis Based on German State-Level Variation," CESifo Working Paper Series 3580, CESifo Group Munich.

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