Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1095598
 
 

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The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: Evidence from a "Judicial Experiment"


Hashem Dezhbakhsh


Emory University - Department of Economics

Joanna Shepherd


Emory University School of Law

July 2006

Economic Inquiry, Vol. 44, Issue 3, pp. 512-535, 2006

Abstract:     
We use panel data for 50 states during the 1960-2000 period to examine the deterrent effect of capital punishment, using the moratorium as a "judicial experiment." We compare murder rates immediately before and after changes in states' death penalty laws, drawing on cross-state variations in the timing and duration of the moratorium. The regression analysis supplementing the before-and-after comparisons disentangles the effect of lifting the moratorium on murder from the effect of actual executions on murder. Results suggest that capital punishment has a deterrent effect, and that executions have a distinct effect which compounds the deterrent effect of merely (re)instating the death penalty. The finding is robust across 96 regression models. (JEL C1, K1)


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Date posted: February 29, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Dezhbakhsh, Hashem and Shepherd, Joanna, The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: Evidence from a "Judicial Experiment" (July 2006). Economic Inquiry, Vol. 44, Issue 3, pp. 512-535, 2006. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1095598 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ei/cbj032

Contact Information

Hashem Dezhbakhsh (Contact Author)
Emory University - Department of Economics ( email )
1602 Fishburne Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-727-4679 (Phone)
404-727-4639 (Fax)
Joanna Shepherd
Emory University School of Law ( email )
1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-727-8957 (Phone)
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