IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/ucp/jlstud/v33y2004p283-321.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Murders of Passion, Execution Delays, and the Deterrence of Capital Punishment

Author

Listed:
  • Joanna M. Shepherd

Abstract

I examine two important questions in the capital punishment literature: what kinds of murders are deterred and what effect does the length of the death row wait have on deterrence? I use monthly murder and execution data that measure deterrence more precisely than the annual data of most capital punishment studies. Results from least squares and negative binomial estimations indicate that capital punishment does deter: each execution results in, on average, three fewer murders. In addition, capital punishment deters murders previously believed to be undeterrable: crimes of passion and murders by intimates. Moreover, murders of both African-American and white victims decrease after executions, which suggests that capital punishment benefits people of all races. However, longer waits on death row before execution lessen the deterrence. Specifically, one less murder is committed for every 2.75-year reduction in death row waits. Thus, recent legislation to shorten the wait should strengthen capital punishment's deterrent effect.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:33:y:2004:p:283-321
    DOI: 10.1086/421571
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/421571
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sah, Raaj K, 1991. "Social Osmosis and Patterns of Crime," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1272-1295, December.
    2. 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.
    3. Eric D. Gould & Bruce A. Weinberg & David B. Mustard, 2002. "Crime Rates And Local Labor Market Opportunities In The United States: 1979-1997," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 45-61, February.
    4. Andreoni, James, 1995. "Criminal Deterrence in the Reduced Form: A New Perspective on Ehrlich's Seminal Study," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(3), pages 476-483, July.
    5. McManus, Walter S, 1985. "Estimates of the Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: The Importance of the Researcher's Prior Beliefs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 417-425, April.
    6. Brumm, Harold J. & Cloninger, Dale O., 1996. "Perceived risk of punishment and the commission of homicides: A covariance structure analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-11, October.
    7. 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.
    8. Cameron, Samuel, 1994. "A review of the econometric evidence on the effects of capital punishment," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 197-214.
    9. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G., 1993. "Estimation and Inference in Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195060119.
    10. Mocan, H Naci & Gittings, R Kaj, 2003. "Getting Off Death Row: Commuted Sentences and the Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 453-478, October.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. Lott, John R, Jr & Mustard, David B, 1997. "Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(1), pages 1-68, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Joseph A. Clougherty & Tomaso Duso & Miyu Lee & Jo Seldeslachts, 2016. "Effective European Antitrust: Does Ec Merger Policy Generate Deterrence?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(4), pages 1884-1903, October.
    2. Eide, Erling & Rubin, Paul H. & Shepherd, Joanna M., 2006. "Economics of Crime," Foundations and Trends(R) in Microeconomics, now publishers, vol. 2(3), pages 205-279, December.
    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. Angela K. Dills & Jeffrey A. Miron & Garrett Summers, 2010. "What Do Economists Know about Crime?," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Crime: Lessons for and from Latin America, pages 269-302 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2011. "Econometric Estimates of Deterrence of the Death Penalty: Facts or Ideology?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 448-478, August.
    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. John J. Donohue III & Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Uses and Abuses of Empirical Evidence in the Death Penalty Debate," NBER Working Papers 11982, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. 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.
    9. Víctor Gerardo Carreón Rodríguez & Jorge L. García-Menéndez, 2013. "Economic Analysis of Theft Reporting: the Case of Mexico City," Working papers DTE 568, CIDE, División de Economía.
    10. Berit C. Gerritzen & Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2013. "Facts or Ideology: What Determines the Results of Econometric Estimates of the Deterrence Effect of Death Penalty? A Meta-Analysis," CESifo Working Paper Series 4159, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Berit C. Gerritzen & Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2013. "Facts or Ideology: What Determines the Results of Econometric Estimates of the Deterrence Effect of Death Penalty?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2013-04, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    12. Christoph Engel, 2010. "Turning the Lab into Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon. A Lab Experiment on the Transparency of Punishment," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2010_06, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, revised Jun 2018.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:33:y:2004:p:283-321. 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). General contact details of provider: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLS/ .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.