The Effect of Punishment Severity on Plea Bargaining
This study examines whether criminal suspects facing more severe punishments are more likely to go to trial. Sample selection makes it difficult to obtain valid proxies for severity; for instance, I expect severity to be positively related to the prosecutor's decision to indict, to indict in federal court (versus state court), and to try the suspect. Theoretical and empirical findings indicate that in samples containing only indicted, convicted, or tried suspects, reasonable proxies for severity may be negatively related to actual severity. The assignment of defendants to judges randomizes the severity of punishment in a manner that is unrelated to sample selection. Thus, by examining the effect of these assignments, I find that a 10-month increase in prison sentences raises trial rates by 1 percentage point.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Anderson, J.M. & Kling, J.R. & Stith, K., 1999.
"Measuring Inter-Judge Sentencing Disparity Before and After the Federal Sentencing Guidelines,"
207, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
- Anderson, James M & Kling, Jeffrey R & Stith, Kate, 1999. "Measuring Interjedge Sentencing Disparity: Before and After the Federal Sentencing Guidelines," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 271-307, April.
- Landes, William M, 1971.
"An Economic Analysis of the Courts,"
Journal of Law and Economics,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(1), pages 61-107, April.
- Roosen, Jutta & Hennessy, David A., 2003.
"Testing for the Monotone Likelihood Ratio Assumption,"
Staff General Research Papers Archive
10193, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
- Roosen J. & Hennessy D.A., 2004. "Testing for the Monotone Likelihood Ratio Assumption," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 22, pages 358-366, July.
- Jutta Roosen & David A. Hennessy, 2003. "Testing for the Monotone Likelihood Ratio Assumption," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 03-wp325, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
- Joel Waldfogel, 1993.
"The Selection Hypothesis and the Relationship between Trial and Plaintiff Victory,"
NBER Working Papers
4508, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Waldfogel, Joel, 1995. "The Selection Hypothesis and the Relationship between Trial and Plaintiff Victory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 229-260, April.
- Boylan, Richard T & Long, Cheryl X, 2005. "Salaries, Plea Rates, and the Career Objectives of Federal Prosecutors," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(2), pages 627-651, October.
- Jerry Hausman, 2001. "Mismeasured Variables in Econometric Analysis: Problems from the Right and Problems from the Left," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 57-67, Fall.
- Snyder, Edward A, 1990. "The Effect of Higher Criminal Penalties on Antitrust Enforcement," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 439-462, October.
- Ashenfelter, Orley & Eisenberg, Theodore & Schwab, Stewart J, 1995. "Politics and the Judiciary: The Influence of Judicial Background on Case Outcomes," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 257-281, June.
- Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1994.
"Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments,"
NBER Technical Working Papers
0151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Douglas Staiger & James H. Stock, 1997. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Weak Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(3), pages 557-586, May.
- Cohen, Mark A, 1991. "Explaining Judicial Behavior or What's "Unconstitutional" about the Sentencing Commission?," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 183-199, Spring.
- Ilyana Kuziemko, 2006. "Does the Threat of the Death Penalty Affect Plea Bargaining in Murder Cases? Evidence from New York's 1995 Reinstatement of Capital Punishment," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(1), pages 116-142.
- George L. Priest & Benjamin Klein, 1984. "The Selection of Disputes for Litigation," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 1-56, January.
- Elder, Harold W, 1989. "Trials and Settlements in the Criminal Courts: An Empirical Analysis of Dispositions and Sentencing," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(1), pages 191-208, January.
- LaCasse, Chantale & Payne, A Abigail, 1999. "Federal Sentencing Guidelines and Mandatory Minimum Sentences: Do Defendants Bargain in the Shadow of the Judge?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 245-269, April.
- David Bjerk, 2004.
"Making the Crime Fit the Penalty: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion Under Mandatory Minimum Sentencing,"
Department of Economics Working Papers
2004-12, McMaster University.
- Bjerk, David, 2005. "Making the Crime Fit the Penalty: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion under Mandatory Minimum Sentencing," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(2), pages 591-625, October.
- Reinganum, Jennifer F., 1986.
"Plea Bargaining and Prosecutorial Discretion,"
616, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Philip J. Cook, 2009. "Potential Savings from Abolition of the Death Penalty in North Carolina," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 498-529.
- Yatchew, Adonis & Griliches, Zvi, 1985. "Specification Error in Probit Models," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(1), pages 134-139, February.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/663588. 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: (Journals Division)
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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.