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Do You Receive a Lighter Prison Sentence Because You Are a Woman? An Economic Analysis of Federal Criminal Sentencing Guidelines

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Author Info

  • Sarnikar, Supriya

    ()
    (Westfield State College)

  • Sorensen, Todd A.

    ()
    (University of California, Riverside)

  • Oaxaca, Ronald L.

    ()
    (University of Arizona)

Abstract

The Federal criminal sentencing guidelines struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2005 required that males and females who commit the same crime and have the same prior criminal record be sentenced equally. Using data obtained from the United States Sentencing Commission’s records, we examine whether there exists any gender-based bias in criminal sentencing decisions. We treat months in prison as a censored variable in order to account for the frequent outcome of no prison time. Additionally, we control for the self-selection of the defendant into guilty pleas through use of an endogenous switching regression model. A new decomposition methodology is employed. Our results indicate that women receive more lenient sentences even after controlling for circumstances such as the severity of the offense and past criminal history.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2870.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2870

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Keywords: criminal justice; discrimination; limited dependent variable analysis; decomposition analysis;

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References

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  1. Thierry Verdier & Yves Zenou, 2004. "Racial Beliefs, Location, And The Causes Of Crime," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(3), pages 731-760, 08.
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  11. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. WOMEN - LENIENT PRISON SENTENCES
    by Yohan in Masculist Advice on 2007-09-10 10:54:00

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