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Re-election Concerns and the Failure of Plea Bargaining

  • Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay
  • Bryan C McCannon

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.

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File URL: ftp://ftp.bham.ac.uk/pub/RePEc/pdf/1028.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Birmingham in its series Discussion Papers with number 10-28.

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Length: 12 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bir:birmec:10-28
Contact details of provider: Postal: Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT
Web page: http://www.economics.bham.ac.uk

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  1. 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.
  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. Eric Rasmusen & Manu Raghav, & Mark Ramseyer, 2008. "Convictions versus Conviction Rates: The Prosecutor’s Choice," Working Papers 2008-16, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Lucian Arye Bebchuk, 1984. "Litigation and Settlement under Imperfect Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 404-415, Autumn.
  8. 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 149-67, April.
  9. 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.
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