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Re-election Concerns and the Failure of Plea Bargaining

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  • Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay
  • Bryan C McCannon

Abstract

A new explanation for the failure of plea bargaining is provided. It is shown that a retention agent (i.e. median voter) can use convictions at trial as a signal of the quality of a prosecutor. This encourages a public prosecutor to take cases to trial even when both social welfare and her utility (absent the retention motivatiOn) from plea bargaining is higher.

Suggested Citation

  • Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay & Bryan C McCannon, 2010. "Re-election Concerns and the Failure of Plea Bargaining," Discussion Papers 10-28, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
  • Handle: RePEc:bir:birmec:10-28
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    File URL: ftp://ftp.bham.ac.uk/pub/RePEc/pdf/1028.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lucian Arye Bebchuk, 1984. "Litigation and Settlement under Imperfect Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 404-415, Autumn.
    2. Philippe Delacote & Lydie Ancelot, 2009. "Prosecutor and lawyers in plea bargaining with complete information," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 29(3), pages 1925-1932.
    3. Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay & Bryan McCannon, 2014. "The effect of the election of prosecutors on criminal trials," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 161(1), pages 141-156, October.
    4. Baker, Scott & Mezzetti, Claudio, 2001. "Prosecutorial Resources, Plea Bargaining, and the Decision to Go to Trial," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(1), pages 149-167, April.
    5. Kobayashi, Bruce H. & Lott, John Jr., 1992. "Low-probability-high-penalty enforcement strategies and the efficient operation of the plea-bargaining system," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 69-77, March.
    6. Boari, Nicola & Fiorentini, Gianluca, 2001. "An economic analysis of plea bargaining: the incentives of the parties in a mixed penal system," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 213-231, June.
    7. Eric Rasmusen & Manu Raghav & Mark Ramseyer, 2009. "Convictions versus Conviction Rates: The Prosecutor's Choice," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 47-78.
    8. William M. Landes, 1974. "An Economic Analysis of the Courts," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 164-214 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Franzoni, Luigi Alberto, 1999. "Negotiated Enforcement and Credible Deterrence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(458), pages 509-535, October.
    10. Bjerk, David, 2008. "On the role of plea bargaining and the distribution of sentences in the absence of judicial system frictions," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-7, March.
    11. David Bjerk, 2007. "Guilt Shall Not Escape or Innocence Suffer? The Limits of Plea Bargaining When Defendant Guilt is Uncertain," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 305-329.
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    Cited by:

    1. Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay & Bryan C McCannon, 2014. "Queuing Up For Justice: Elections and Case Backlogs," Discussion Papers 14-10, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    plea bargaining; prosecutor evaluation; signaling;

    JEL classification:

    • K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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