IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jcecon/v43y2015i3p595-612.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Do legal origins affect cross-country incarceration rates?

Author

Listed:
  • D’Amico, Daniel J.
  • Williamson, Claudia

Abstract

Prison populations vary tremendously across countries. This paper investigates the potential relationship between incarceration rates and legal origins in a large cross-section of countries. We argue that legal origins alter the relative costs associated with imprisonment as a means for social control. Using panel data from 2001 to 2011, we find countries with civil legal origins have lower prison populations. Our empirical results are highly robust after controlling for crime rates, criminal justice resources, economic factors, political institutions, and social factors. In addition, our results do not appear to be driven by the variation in criminalized activities. To explain these results, we conjecture that imprisonment is a lower cost mechanism for enforcing social order in common law countries. In civil law countries, bureaucratic infrastructures allow for methods such as day-fines, community service, seizure of property, and probation as more affordable alternatives to imprisonment.

Suggested Citation

  • D’Amico, Daniel J. & Williamson, Claudia, 2015. "Do legal origins affect cross-country incarceration rates?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 595-612.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:43:y:2015:i:3:p:595-612
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jce.2014.11.002
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0147596714001176
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.jce.2014.11.002?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. McCleary, Rachel & Barro, Robert, 2003. "Religion and Economic Growth across Countries," Scholarly Articles 3708464, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    2. Djankov, Simeon & McLiesh, Caralee & Nenova, Tatiana & Shleifer, Andrei, 2003. "Who Owns the Media?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 341-381, October.
    3. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
    4. Alesina, Alberto & Devleeschauwer, Arnaud & Easterly, William & Kurlat, Sergio & Wacziarg, Romain, 2003. "Fractionalization," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 155-194, June.
    5. Carmine Guerriero, 2011. "Legal Traditions and Economic Performance: Theory and Evidence," Chapters, in: Francesco Parisi (ed.), Production of Legal Rules, chapter 9, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "The Regulation of Entry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 1-37.
    7. Andrei Shleifer & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Rafael La Porta, 2008. "The Economic Consequences of Legal Origins," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 285-332, June.
    8. Grossman, Herschel I., 2002. ""Make us a king": anarchy, predation, and the state," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 31-46, March.
    9. Michael Graff, 2008. "Law and Finance: Common Law and Civil Law Countries Compared—An Empirical Critique," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(297), pages 60-83, February.
    10. Peter T. Leeson, 2009. "The Laws of Lawlessness," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 471-503, June.
    11. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    12. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Cristian Pop-Eleches & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Judicial Checks and Balances," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 445-470, April.
    13. Kessler, Daniel P & Levitt, Steven D, 1999. "Using Sentence Enhancements to Distinguish between Deterrence and Incapacitation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 343-363, April.
    14. Djankov, Simeon & Glaeser, Edward & La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2003. "The new comparative economics," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 595-619, December.
    15. Casey B. Mulligan, 2005. "Conscription as Regulation," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 85-111.
    16. Edward L. Glaeser & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "Legal Origins," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1193-1229.
    17. repec:hrv:faseco:30728041 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. repec:hrv:faseco:33078568 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Juan C. Botero & Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "The Regulation of Labor," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1339-1382.
    20. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "Courts: the Lex Mundi Project," NBER Working Papers 8890, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Kornai, Janos, 1992. "The Socialist System: The Political Economy of Communism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198287766.
    22. Sylvain Weber, 2010. "bacon: An effective way to detect outliers in multivariate data using Stata (and Mata)," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 10(3), pages 331-338, September.
    23. La Porta, Rafael & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. "Legal Determinants of External Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(3), pages 1131-1150, July.
    24. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "Law and Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1113-1155, December.
    25. Andrei Shleifer & Daniel Treisman, 2005. "A Normal Country: Russia After Communism," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 151-174, Winter.
    26. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2002. "Reversal of Fortune: Geography and Institutions in the Making of the Modern World Income Distribution," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1231-1294.
    27. Easton, Stephen T & Walker, Michael A, 1997. "Income, Growth, and Economic Freedom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 328-332, May.
    28. Djankov, Simeon & La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2008. "The law and economics of self-dealing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3), pages 430-465, June.
    29. Dan Usher, 1997. "Education as a Deterrent to Crime," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(2), pages 367-384, May.
    30. James D. Gwartney & Robert A. Lawson & Randall G. Holcombe, 1999. "Economic Freedom and the Environment for Economic Growth," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 155(4), pages 643-643, December.
    31. Bruce Western & Becky Pettit, 2000. "Incarceration and Racial Inequality in Men's Employment," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(1), pages 3-16, October.
    32. Soares, Rodrigo R., 2004. "Development, crime and punishment: accounting for the international differences in crime rates," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 155-184, February.
    33. repec:hrv:faseco:30747190 is not listed on IDEAS
    34. World Bank, 2014. "World Development Indicators 2014," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 18237, July.
    35. Holger Spamann, 2010. "Legal Origin, Civil Procedure, and the Quality of Contract Enforcement," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 166(1), pages 149-165, March.
    36. Levitt, Steven D, 1998. "Why Do Increased Arrest Rates Appear to Reduce Crime: Deterrence, Incapacitation, or Measurement Error?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(3), pages 353-372, July.
    37. Casey B. Mulligan & Ricard Gil & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2004. "Do Democracies Have Different Public Policies than Nondemocracies?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 51-74, Winter.
    38. Soares, Rodrigo R, 2004. "Crime Reporting as a Measure of Institutional Development," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(4), pages 851-871, July.
    39. Lott, John R, Jr & Mustard, David B, 1997. "Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(1), pages 1-68, January.
    40. Tauchen, Helen & Witte, Ann Dryden & Griesinger, Harriet, 1994. "Criminal Deterrence: Revisiting the Issue with a Birth Cohort," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(3), pages 399-412, August.
    41. Casey B. Mulligan & Andrei Shleifer, 2005. "The Extent of the Market and the Supply of Regulation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1445-1473.
    42. Peter T. Leeson, 2008. "Social Distance and Self-Enforcing Exchange," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(1), pages 161-188, January.
    43. repec:hrv:faseco:30747160 is not listed on IDEAS
    44. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 1999. "Why Is There More Crime in Cities?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 225-258, December.
    45. Olson, Mancur, 1993. "Dictatorship, Democracy, and Development," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 567-576, September.
    46. Robert J. Barro & Rachel McCleary, 2003. "Religion and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 9682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    47. Peter T. Leeson, 2007. "An-arrgh-chy: The Law and Economics of Pirate Organization," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 1049-1094, December.
    48. Mahoney, Paul G, 2001. "The Common Law and Economic Growth: Hayek Might Be Right," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(2), pages 503-525, Part I Ju.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Simplice A. Asongu & Jacinta C. Nwachukwu & Chris Pyke, 2019. "The Right to Life: Global Evidence on the Role of Security Officers and the Police in Modulating the Effect of Insecurity on Homicide," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 143(2), pages 727-740, June.
    2. Simplice A. Asongu & Jacinta C. Nwachukwu & Stella-Maris I. Orim & Chris Pyke, 2019. "Crime and Social Media," Research Africa Network Working Papers 19/003, Research Africa Network (RAN).
    3. Simplice Asongu, 2017. "Persistence in Incarcerations: Global Comparative Evidence," Working Papers of the African Governance and Development Institute. 17/056, African Governance and Development Institute..
    4. Galinato, Gregmar I. & Rohla, Ryne, 2020. "Do privately-owned prisons increase incarceration rates?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C).
    5. Tsikas, Stefanos A., 2017. "Enforce Tax Compliance, but Cautiously: The Role of Trust in Authorities and Power of Authorities," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-589, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    6. Nick Cowen, 2018. "Robust Against Whom?," Advances in Austrian Economics, in: Steven Horwitz (ed.), Austrian Economics: The Next Generation, volume 23, pages 91-111, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    7. Skarbek, David, 2016. "Covenants without the Sword? Comparing Prison Self-Governance Globally," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 110(4), pages 845-862, November.
    8. Daniel J. D’Amico & Claudia R. Williamson, 2019. "An empirical examination of institutions and cross-country incarceration rates," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 180(3), pages 217-242, September.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Andrei Shleifer & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Rafael La Porta, 2008. "The Economic Consequences of Legal Origins," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 285-332, June.
    2. Buchen, Clemens, 2010. "Emerging economic systems in Central and Eastern Europe – a qualitative and quantitative assessment," EconStor Theses, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, number 37141.
    3. Charron, Nicholas & Dahlström, Carl & Lapuente, Victor, 2012. "No law without a state," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 176-193.
    4. Djankov, Simeon & Glaeser, Edward & La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2003. "The new comparative economics," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 595-619, December.
    5. Cline, Brandon N. & Williamson, Claudia R., 2016. "Trust and the regulation of corporate self-dealing," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 572-590.
    6. Sébastien Marchand, 2012. "Legal Origin, Colonial Origins and Deforestation," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(2), pages 1653-1670.
    7. Sébastien MARCHAND, 2010. "Historical and Comparative Institutional Analysis: Evidences from Deforestation," Working Papers 201016, CERDI.
    8. Thorsten Beck & Ross Levine, 2008. "Legal Institutions and Financial Development," Springer Books, in: Claude Ménard & Mary M. Shirley (ed.), Handbook of New Institutional Economics, chapter 11, pages 251-278, Springer.
    9. Beck, T.H.L., 2010. "Legal Institutions and Economic Development," Other publications TiSEM 8aa07b48-ce55-4cf6-8754-7, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    10. Cassey Lee, 2007. "Legal Traditions and Competition Policy," Chapters, in: Paul Cook & Raul Fabella & Cassey Lee (ed.), Competitive Advantage and Competition Policy in Developing Countries, chapter 4, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    11. Gur Aminadav & Elias Papaioannou, 2020. "Corporate Control around the World," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 75(3), pages 1191-1246, June.
    12. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Levine, Ross, 2003. "Law and finance: why does legal origin matter?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 653-675, December.
    13. Hadfield, Gillian K., 2011. "The dynamic quality of law: The role of judicial incentives and legal human capital in the adaptation of law," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 79(1-2), pages 80-94, June.
    14. Wahl, Fabian, 2012. "Why it matters what people think: Beliefs, legal origins and the deep roots of trust," FZID Discussion Papers 52-2012, University of Hohenheim, Center for Research on Innovation and Services (FZID).
    15. Du, Julan & Lu, Yi & Tao, Zhigang, 2012. "Contracting institutions and vertical integration: Evidence from China’s manufacturing firms," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 89-107.
    16. Amin, Mohammad, 2009. "Helpful governments," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 130-133, October.
    17. Lubna Hasan, 2007. "Myths and Realities of Long-run Development: A Look at Deeper Determinants," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 46(1), pages 19-44.
    18. Aldashev, Gani & Zanarone, Giorgio, 2017. "Endogenous enforcement institutions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 49-64.
    19. Juan C. Botero & Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "The Regulation of Labor," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1339-1382.
    20. Rui Baptista, 2004. "Culture, Institutions and Government Attitudes towards New Firm Entry," Papers on Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy 2004-39, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy Group.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Incarceration; Prisons; Legal origins; Crime;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • K33 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - International Law
    • P5 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems
    • F55 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Institutional Arrangements

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:43:y:2015:i:3:p:595-612. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622864 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622864 .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.