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Off with their heads: Terrorism and electoral support for capital punishment in Australia


  • Tim R. L. Fry
  • Clare Felvus
  • Sinclair Davidson
  • Lisa Farrell


Recent terrorist attacks such as the attacks on the World Trade Centre in September 2001 have generated new interest in the debate on capital punishment. It has been suggested that support for the death penalty could be higher in the wake of terrorist activity. Using data from the Australian Election Study we investigate voters' attitudes towards capital punishment. Paradoxically, overall support for the death penalty at the 2001 Federal election was lower than at previous elections. In this paper we utilise both simultaneous binary probit and treatment effects models to model the determinants of those attitudes and to investigate the impact of terrorism on support for the death penalty at the 2001 Federal election. In particular, we address the question of whether voters who felt terrorism was an important issue had higher levels of support for the death penalty than voters who did not feel that terrorism was important

Suggested Citation

  • Tim R. L. Fry & Clare Felvus & Sinclair Davidson & Lisa Farrell, 2004. "Off with their heads: Terrorism and electoral support for capital punishment in Australia," Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings 174, Econometric Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:ausm04:174

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    simultaneous binary probit; treatment effects models;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • C35 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions

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