IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/9507.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die? An Analysis of Prisoners on Death Row in the United States

Author

Listed:
  • Laura Argys
  • Naci Mocan

Abstract

Using data on the entire population of prisoners under a sentence of death in the U.S. between 1977 and 1997, this paper investigates the probability of being executed on death row in any given year, as well as the probability of commutation when reaching the end of death row. The analyses control for personal characteristics and previous criminal record of the death row inmates. We link the data on death row inmates to a number of characteristics of the state of incarceration, including variables which allow us to assess the degree to which the political process enters into the final outcome in a death penalty case. Inmates with only a grade school diploma are more likely to receive clemency, and those with some college attendance are less likely to have their sentence commuted. Blacks and other minorities are less likely to get executed in comparison to white inmates. Female death row inmates and older inmates are also less likely to get executed. If an inmate's spell on death row ends at a point in time where the governor is a lame duck, the probability of commutation is higher in comparison to a similar inmate whose decision is made by a governor who is not a lame duck. If the governor is female, she is more likely to spare the inmate's life; and if the governor is white, the likelihood of dying is higher in comparison to the case where the decision is made by a minority governor.

Suggested Citation

  • Laura Argys & Naci Mocan, 2003. "Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die? An Analysis of Prisoners on Death Row in the United States," NBER Working Papers 9507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9507
    Note: HE PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9507.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kubik, Jeffrey D & Moran, John R, 2003. "Lethal Elections: Gubernatorial Politics and the Timing of Executions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(1), pages 1-25, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Loureiro, Paulo R.A. & Mendonça, Mário Jorge Cardoso de & Moreira, Tito Belchior Silva & Sachsida, Adolfo, 2009. "Crime, economic conditions, social interactions and family heritage," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 202-209, September.
    2. Mariana Martínez & Fabio Sánchez T. & Holly Kosiewicz, 2007. "Is justice blind? An examination of disparities in homicide sentencing in Colombia, 1980-2000," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 004460, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    3. repec:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/693822 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Naci Mocan & Kaj Gittings, 2010. "The Impact of Incentives on Human Behavior: Can We Make it Disappear? The Case of the Death Penalty," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Crime: Lessons for and from Latin America, pages 379-418 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Sarah Marx Quintanar, 2009. "Man vs. Machine: An Investigation of Speeding Ticket Disparities Based on Gender and Race," Departmental Working Papers 2009-16, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
    6. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2014. "A Test of Racial Bias in Capital Sentencing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(11), pages 3397-3433, November.
    7. Ozkan Eren & Naci Mocan, 2016. "Emotional Judges and Unlucky Juveniles," NBER Working Papers 22611, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Wayne Geerling & Gary Magee & Vinod Mishra & Russell Smyth, 2016. "Hitler's Judges: Ideological Commitment and the Death Penalty in Nazi Germany," Monash Economics Working Papers 10-16, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    9. H. Naci Mocan & R. Kaj Gittings, 2001. "Pardons, Executions and Homicide," NBER Working Papers 8639, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. William M. Landes & Richard A. Posner, 2009. "The Economics of Presidential Pardons and Commutations," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(1), pages 61-88, January.
    11. Naci Mocan & Erdal Tekin, 2010. "Ugly Criminals," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(1), pages 15-30, February.
    12. Briggs Depew & Ozkan Eren & Naci Mocan, 2017. "Judges, Juveniles, and In-Group Bias," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(2), pages 209-239.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9507. 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: () or (Joanne Lustig). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.