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What Do Prosecutors Maximize? An Analysis of Drug Offenders and Concurrent Jurisdiction

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  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • Anne Morrison Peihl

Abstract

This paper presents a model of prosecutors' decision-making processes in which prosecutors (both federal and state) internalize some of the benefits of reducing crime, but also carte about developing their own human capital. Since U.S. attorneys make their decisions first, they have the opportunity to take the cases that will further their human capital development, knowing that the local district attorneys will handle the other cases. Using two surveys on prison admissions, we find that defendants who are better educated, richer, married, white, have higher-paying occupations, and have less extensive criminals records are more likely to be incarcerated in the federal system. Conversely, state prisons are more likely to incarcerate individuals who are particularly likely to be difficult prisoners, despite the supposed advantages of federal prisons in dealing with the most dangerous criminals.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research in its series JCPR Working Papers with number 29.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 1998
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Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:29

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  1. Edward L. Glaeser & Spence Glendon, 1998. "Who Owns Guns? Criminals, Victims and the Culture of Violence," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1822, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Kessler, Daniel P & Piehl, Anne Morrison, 1998. "The Role of Discretion in the Criminal Justice System," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 256-76, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Francisco González & Carlos Esteban Posada, 2001. "Criminalidad, violencia y gasto público en defensa, justicia y seguridad en Colombia," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 3(4), pages 78-102, January-J.
  2. Kristin F. Butcher & Anne Morrison Piehl, 1999. "The Role of Deportation in the Incarceration of Immigrants," NBER Working Papers 6974, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Richard Boylan & Cheryl Xiaoning Long, 2000. "Size, Monitoring and Plea Rate: An Examination of United States Attorneys," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0089, Econometric Society.

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