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Reassessing the Cost of the Death Penalty Using Quasi-Experimental Methods: Evidence from Maryland


  • John K. Roman
  • Aaron J. Chalfin
  • Carly R. Knight


Extant research on the cost of the death penalty consistently finds that pursuit of a death sentence adds costs to case processing. However, these studies have important limitations in either the sampling frame or in their failure to include adequate statistical controls. This research draws upon a rich dataset of capital-eligible cases in Maryland to estimate the additional cost of filing a death notice. Multivariate models are used to control for selection into capital case processing and for competing explanations of cost. We find that filing a death notice is associated with an additional one million dollars in costs. Copyright 2009, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • John K. Roman & Aaron J. Chalfin & Carly R. Knight, 2009. "Reassessing the Cost of the Death Penalty Using Quasi-Experimental Methods: Evidence from Maryland," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 530-574.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:amlawe:v:11:y:2009:i:2:p:530-574

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