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The deterrent effect of executions: A meta-analysis thirty years after Ehrlich

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  • Yang, Bijou
  • Lester, David

Abstract

In 1975, Ehrlich published a seminal paper in American Economic Review which argued that executions prevent murders in America. Subsequent empirical studies varied in their methodology and the time-period/region/country covered, and therefore it is difficult to draw a clear conclusion about the deterrent effect of executions. This article applies a meta-analysis to combine the results from refereed studies in order to summarize objectively the findings. The overall results of the meta-analysis supported the deterrent effect of executions, but the evidence for a deterrent effect depended on the type of study carried out (time-series and panel data versus cross-sectional data and the effects of publicity).

Suggested Citation

  • Yang, Bijou & Lester, David, 2008. "The deterrent effect of executions: A meta-analysis thirty years after Ehrlich," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 453-460, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcjust:v:36:y::i:5:p:453-460
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    3. Behnken, Monic P. & Caudill, Jonathan W. & Berg, Mark T. & Trulson, Chad R. & DeLisi, Matt, 2011. "Marked for Death: An Empirical Criminal Careers Analysis of Death Sentences in a Sample of Convicted Male Homicide Offenders," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 471-478.
    4. Berit C. Gerritzen & Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2013. "Facts or Ideology: What Determines the Results of Econometric Estimates of the Deterrence Effect of Death Penalty?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2013-04, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    5. Kirchgässner, Gebhard, 2014. "On the Process of Scientific Policy Advice - With Special Reference to Economic Policy," Economics Working Paper Series 1438, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.

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