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Sentence Reductions and Recidivism: Lessons from the Bastille Day Quasi Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Maurin, Eric

    () (Paris School of Economics)

  • Ouss, Aurelie

    () (Paris School of Economics)

Abstract

This paper exploits the collective pardon granted to individuals incarcerated in French prisons on the 14th of July, 1996 (Bastille Day) to identify the effect of collective sentence reductions on recidivism. The collective pardon generated a very significant discontinuity in the relationship between the number of weeks of sentence reduction granted to inmates and their prospective date of release. We show that the same discontinuity exists in the relationship between recidivism probability five years after the release and prospective date of release. Overall, the Bastille Day quasi experiment suggests that collective sentence reductions increase recidivism and do not represent a cost-effective way to reduce incarceration rates or prisons' overcrowding.

Suggested Citation

  • Maurin, Eric & Ouss, Aurelie, 2009. "Sentence Reductions and Recidivism: Lessons from the Bastille Day Quasi Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 3990, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3990
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kessler, Daniel P & Levitt, Steven D, 1999. "Using Sentence Enhancements to Distinguish between Deterrence and Incapacitation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 343-363, April.
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    6. Alessandro Barbarino & Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2014. "The Incapacitation Effect of Incarceration: Evidence from Several Italian Collective Pardons," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 1-37, February.
    7. Jeffrey R. Kling, 2006. "Incarceration Length, Employment, and Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 863-876, June.
    8. Patrick Bayer & Randi Hjalmarsson & David Pozen, 2009. "Building Criminal Capital behind Bars: Peer Effects in Juvenile Corrections," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(1), pages 105-147.
    9. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-209, January.
    10. Ilyana Kuziemko, 2007. "Going Off Parole: How the Elimination of Discretionary Prison Release Affects the Social Cost of Crime," NBER Working Papers 13380, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Christoph Engel, 2016. "Experimental Criminal Law. A Survey of Contributions from Law, Economics and Criminology," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2016_07, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    2. Francesco Drago & Roberto Galbiati & Pietro Vertova, 2009. "The Deterrent Effects of Prison: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(2), pages 257-280, April.
    3. Anaïs Henneguelle & Benjamin Monnery & Annie Kensey, 2016. "Better at Home than in Prison? The Effects of Electronic Monitoring on Recidivism in France," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(3), pages 629-667.
    4. repec:kap:iaecre:v:21:y:2015:i:2:p:155-165 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Marie Claire Villeval, 2017. "Exclusion and reintegration in a social dilemna," Post-Print halshs-01662829, HAL.
    6. Ana Maria Ibanez & Catherine Rodriguez & David Zarruk, 2013. "Crime, Punishment, and Schooling Decisions: Evidence from Colombian Adolescents," Research Department Publications IDB-WP-413, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    7. Drago, Francesco & Galbiati, Roberto & Sobbrio, Francesco, 2017. "The Political Cost of Being Soft on Crime: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 12097, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Joshua Hall & Kaitlyn Harger & Dean Stansel, 2015. "Economic Freedom and Recidivism: Evidence from US States," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 21(2), pages 155-165, May.
    9. Francesco Drago & Roberto Galbiati & Francesco Sobbrio, 2017. "Voters' Response to Public Policies: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 6826, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Bushway, Shawn & DeAngelo, Gregory & Hansen, Benjamin, 2013. "Deterability by age," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 70-81.
    11. Benjamin Monnery, 2013. "The determinants of recidivism among ex-prisoners: a survival analysis on French data," Working Papers halshs-00822847, HAL.
    12. Entorf, Horst, 2012. "Certainty and Severity of Sanctions in Classical and Behavioral Models of Deterrence: A Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 6516, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Ana Maria Ibanez & Catherine Rodriguez & David Zarruk, 2013. "Crime, Punishment, and Schooling Decisions: Evidence from Colombian Adolescents," Research Department Publications IDB-WP-413, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    crime; prison; deterrence effect; recidivism;

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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