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Comparing Apples to Oranges: Differences in Women’s and Men’s Incarceration and Sentencing Outcomes

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  • Kristin F. Butcher
  • Kyung H. Park
  • Anne Morrison Piehl

Abstract

Using detailed administrative records, we find that, on average, women receive lighter sentences in comparison with men along both extensive and intensive margins. Using parametric and semi-parametric decomposition methods, roughly 30% of the gender differences in incarceration cannot be explained by the observed criminal characteristics of offense and offender. We also find evidence of considerable heterogeneity across judges in their treatment of female and male offenders. There is little evidence, however, that tastes for gender discrimination are driving the mean gender disparity or the variance in treatment between judges.

Suggested Citation

  • Kristin F. Butcher & Kyung H. Park & Anne Morrison Piehl, 2017. "Comparing Apples to Oranges: Differences in Women’s and Men’s Incarceration and Sentencing Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 23079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23079
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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Bindler & Randi Hjalmarsson, 2020. "The Persistence of the Criminal Justice Gender Gap: Evidence from 200 Years of Judicial Decisions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63(2), pages 297-339.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • 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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