Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1436993
 
 

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Executions, Deterrence and Homicide: A Tale of Two Cities


Franklin Zimring


University of California at Berkeley

Jeffrey Fagan


Columbia Law School

David T. Johnson


University of Hawaii at Manoa

August 31, 2009

Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 09-206
CELS 2009 4th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper

Abstract:     
We compare homicide rates in two quite similar cities with vastly different execution risks. Singapore had an execution rate close to 1 per million per year until an explosive twentyfold increase in 1994-95 and 1996-97 to a level that we show was probably the highest in the world. Then over the next 11 years, Singapore executions dropped by about 95%. Hong Kong, by contrast,has no executions all during the last generation and abolished capital punishment in 1993. Homicide levels and trends are remarkably similar in these two cities over the 35 years after 1973, with neither the surge in Singapore executions nor the more recent steep drop producing any differential impact. By comparing two closely matched places with huge contrasts in actual execution but no differences in homicide trends, we have generated a unique test of the exuberant claims of deterrence that have been produced over the past decade in the U.S.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 54

Keywords: Capital punishment, deterrence, homicide

JEL Classification: K14

working papers series


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Date posted: July 21, 2009 ; Last revised: September 9, 2009

Suggested Citation

Zimring, Franklin and Fagan, Jeffrey and Johnson, David T., Executions, Deterrence and Homicide: A Tale of Two Cities (August 31, 2009). Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 09-206; CELS 2009 4th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1436993 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1436993

Contact Information

Franklin E. Zimring
University of California at Berkeley ( email )
Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States
Jeffrey Fagan (Contact Author)
Columbia Law School ( email )
435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States
212-854-2624 (Phone)
212-854-7946 (Fax)
David T. Johnson
University of Hawaii at Manoa ( email )
Honolulu, HI 96822
United States
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