What Do Prosecutors Maximize? An Analysis of Drug Offenders and Concurrent Jurisdiction
This paper presents a model of prosecutors' decision-making processes in which prosecutors (both federal and state) internalize some of the benefits of reducing crime, but also care about developing their own human capital. Since U.S. attorneys make their decision first, they have the opportunity to take the cases that will further their human capital development, knowing that the local district attorneys will handle the other cases. Using two surveys on prison admissions, we find that defendants who are better educated, richer, married, white, have higher-paying occupations more likely to be incarcerated in the federal system. Conversely, state prisons are more likely to incarcerate individuals who are particularly likely to be difficult prisoners, despite the supposed advantages of federal prisons in dealing with the most dangerous criminals.
|Date of creation:||Jun 1998|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as American Law and Economics Review, Fall 2000; issue 2: 259 - 290.|
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- Kessler, Daniel P & Piehl, Anne Morrison, 1998.
"The Role of Discretion in the Criminal Justice System,"
Journal of Law, Economics and Organization,
Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 256-76, October.
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- Edward L. Glaeser & Spence Glendon, 1998.
"Who Owns Guns? Criminals, Victims and the Culture of Violence,"
Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers
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