Criminal Sentencing in Nineteenth Century Pennsylvania
How law is interpreted and enforced at a particular historical moment reflects contemporary social concerns and prejudices. This paper investigates the nature of criminal sentencing in mid-nineteenth-century Pennsylvania. It finds that extralegal factors, namely place of conviction and several personal characteristics, were important determinants of sentence length. The observed disparities in the mid-nineteenth century, however, are different than modern disparities. Instead of longer sentences, African Americans and recent immigrants tended to receive shorter sentences, whereas more affluent offenders received longer sentences. The results are consistent with other interpretations of the period as the "era of the common man."
|Date of creation:||Aug 2008|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as "Criminal Sentencing in Nineteenth Century Pennsylvania." Explorations in Economic History 46:3 (July 2009), 287-298.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Farmer, Amy & Terrell, Dek, 2001. "Crime versus Justice: Is There a Trade-Off?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(2), pages 345-66, October.
- Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & José A. Scheinkman, 1996.
"Crime and Social Interactions,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 507-548.
- Edward E. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1738, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 5026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Howard Bodenhorn & Christopher Ruebeck, 2007.
"Colourism and African–american wealth: evidence from the nineteenth-century south,"
Journal of Population Economics,
Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 20(3), pages 599-620, July.
- Howard Bodenhorn & Christopher S. Ruebeck, 2005. "Colorism and African American Wealth: Evidence from the Nineteenth-Century South," NBER Working Papers 11732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Carolyn Moehling & Anne Morrison Piehl, 2007.
"Immigration and Crime in Early 20th Century America,"
Departmental Working Papers
200704, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
- Carolyn Moehling & Anne Morrison Piehl, 2007. "Immigration and Crime in Early 20th Century America," NBER Working Papers 13576, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Griswold, David B., 1987. "Deviation from sentencing guidelines: The issue of unwarranted disparity," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 317-329.
- Mustard, David B, 2001. "Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Disparities in Sentencing: Evidence from the U.S. Federal Courts," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(1), pages 285-314, April.
- Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 1996.
"Why is There More Crime in Cities?,"
Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers
1746, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Scott A. Carson, 2007. "Health during Industrialization: Evidence from the 19th Century Pennsylvania State Prison System," CESifo Working Paper Series 1975, CESifo Group Munich.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14283. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.