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Execution moratoriums, commutations and deterrence: the case of Illinois

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  • Dale Cloninger
  • Roberto Marchesini

Abstract

In an earlier work the impact of an execution moratorium in Texas on the monthly returns (first differences) of homicides was investigated. That moratorium was judicially imposed pending the appeal of a death sentence that could have had widespread consequences. A similar methodology is applied to the state of Illinois. In January 2000, the Governor of Illinois declared a moratorium on executions pending a review of the judicial process that condemned certain murderers to the death penalty. In January 2003 just prior to leaving office, the Governor commuted the death sentences of all of those who then occupied death row. It is found that these actions are coincident with the increased risk of homicide incurred by the residents of Illinois over the 48 month post-event period for which data were available. The increased risk produced an estimated 150 additional homicides during the post-event period.

Suggested Citation

  • Dale Cloninger & Roberto Marchesini, 2006. "Execution moratoriums, commutations and deterrence: the case of Illinois," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(9), pages 967-973.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:38:y:2006:i:9:p:967-973 DOI: 10.1080/00036840500462020
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Brown, Stephen J. & Warner, Jerold B., 1985. "Using daily stock returns : The case of event studies," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 3-31, March.
    2. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1975. "The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: A Question of Life and Death," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 397-417, June.
    3. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1977. "The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 452-458, June.
    4. Dale Cloninger & Roberto Marchesini, 2001. "Execution and deterrence: a quasi-controlled group experiment," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(5), pages 569-576.
    5. Paul R. Zimmerman, 2006. "The Deterrent Effect of Alternative Execution Methods," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(4), pages 909-941, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Donohue III, John J. & Wolfers, Justin, 2006. "Uses and Abuses of Empirical Evidence in the Death Penalty Debate," IZA Discussion Papers 1949, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Joseph A. Clougherty & Jo Seldeslachts, 2013. "The Deterrence Effects of US Merger Policy Instruments," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(5), pages 1114-1144, October.
    3. Paul R. Zimmerman, 2010. "The Economics of Capital Punishment and Deterrence," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Crime, chapter 16 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. 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.

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