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How Fragile Are Fragile Inferences? A Re-evaluation of the Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment


  • McAleer, Michael
  • Veall, Michael R


Extreme bounds analysis attempts to measure the effects of the uncertainty in the specification of the explanatory variables in a regression model on the estimated coefficients of interest. Standard errors for the stochastic extreme bounds are computed using the bootstrap technique. State-by-state cross section data are used to study the deterrent effect of capital punishment in the United States in 1950. The bootstrap standard errors are sufficiently large for some bounds to suggest caution in the interpretation of the empirical results regarding the fragility of inferences for the deterrent effect of capital punishment. Copyright 1989 by MIT Press.

Suggested Citation

  • McAleer, Michael & Veall, Michael R, 1989. "How Fragile Are Fragile Inferences? A Re-evaluation of the Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(1), pages 99-106, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:71:y:1989:i:1:p:99-106

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ehrlich, Isaac & Liu, Zhiqiang, 1999. "Sensitivity Analyses of the Deterrence Hypothesis: Let's Keep the Econ in Econometrics," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 455-487, April.
    2. Ethan Cohen-Cole & Steven Durlauf & Jeffrey Fagan & Daniel Nagin, 2008. "Model Uncertainty and the Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 335-369.
    3. Yang, Haisheng & He, Jie & Chen, Shaoling, 2015. "The fragility of the Environmental Kuznets Curve: Revisiting the hypothesis with Chinese data via an “Extreme Bound Analysis”," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 41-58.
    4. Hashem Dezhbakhsh & Paul H. Rubin & Joanna M. Shepherd, 2003. "Does Capital Punishment Have a Deterrent Effect? New Evidence from Postmoratorium Panel Data," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(2), pages 344-376, August.
    5. Martijn Brons & Henri L.F.M. de Groot & Peter Nijkamp, 1999. "Growth Effects of Fiscal Policies - A Comparative Analysis in a Multi-Country Context," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 99-042/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    6. Hashem Dezhbakhsh & Paul Rubin, 2011. "From the 'econometrics of capital punishment' to the 'capital punishment' of econometrics: on the use and abuse of sensitivity analysis," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(25), pages 3655-3670.
    7. Hashem Dezhbakhsh & Joanna M. Shepherd, 2006. "The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: Evidence from a "Judicial Experiment"," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(3), pages 512-535, July.
    8. Paul R. Zimmerman, 2010. "The Economics of Capital Punishment and Deterrence," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Crime, chapter 16 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Neil R. Ericsson, 2008. "The Fragility of Sensitivity Analysis: An Encompassing Perspective," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 70(s1), pages 895-914, December.
    10. Hess, Gregory D. & Jones, Christopher S. & Porter, Richard D., 1998. "The predictive failure of the Baba, Hendry and Starr model of M1," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 477-507, November.
    11. McAleer, Michael, 1992. "Modelling in econometrics: The deterrent effect of capital punishment," Mathematics and Computers in Simulation (MATCOM), Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 519-532.
    12. McAleer, Michael, 1994. " Sherlock Holmes and the Search for Truth: A Diagnostic Tale," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(4), pages 317-370, December.
    13. 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.
    14. Joanna M. Shepherd, 2004. "Murders of Passion, Execution Delays, and the Deterrence of Capital Punishment," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 283-321, June.

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