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Econometric Estimates of Deterrence of the Death Penalty: Facts or Ideology?

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  • Gebhard Kirchgässner

Abstract

In 2007, the Wall Street Journal published an article claiming that each execution saves more than 70 lives. This example is used to show how easy it is, using simple or advanced econometric techniques, to produce results that do or do not support the deterrence hypothesis. Moreover, we also point to some puzzles which have not been satisfactorily solved so far. We then present a critical survey of the papers published in the last ten years. It is shown how simple changes can produce quite different results using the same data. Finally, we draw some conclusions about the usefulness of statistical arguments in policy debates, but also on the moral questions involved in this particular debate.

Suggested Citation

  • Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2011. "Econometric Estimates of Deterrence of the Death Penalty: Facts or Ideology?," CREMA Working Paper Series 2011-10, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
  • Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2011-10
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    Cited by:

    1. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2013. "Zur Rolle der Ökonometrie in der wissenschaftlichen Politikberatung," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 14(1-2), pages 3-30, February.
    2. Philipp Mandel & Bernd Süssmuth, 2011. "Total Instructional Time Exposure and Student Achievement: An Extreme Bounds Analysis Based on German State-Level Variation," CESifo Working Paper Series 3580, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Death Penalty; Deterrence; Econometric Evidence; Ideology;

    JEL classification:

    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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