Lethal Elections: Gubernatorial Politics and the Timing of Executions
We document the existence of a gubernatorial election cycle in state executions, which suggests that election-year political considerations play a role in determining the timing of executions. Our analysis indicates that states are approximately 25 percent more likely to conduct executions in gubernatorial election years than in other years. We also find that elections have a larger effect on the probability that an African-American defendant will be executed in a given year than on the probability that a white defendant will be executed and that the overall effect of elections is largest in the South.
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