Lethal Elections: Gubernatorial Politics and the Timing of Executions
Jeffrey D. Kubik
Syracuse University - Department of Economics
John R. Moran
Penn State University
July 1, 2002
Syracuse University Center for Policy Research Working Paper No. 40
We document the existence of a gubernatorial election cycle in state executions, suggesting that election year political considerations play a role in determining the timing of executions. Our analysis indicates that states are approximately 25 percent more likely to conduct executions in gubernatorial election years than in other years. We also find that elections have a larger effect on the probability that an African American defendant will be executed in a given year than on the probability that a white defendant will be executed, and that the overall effect of elections is largest in the South. These findings raise concerns that state executions may fail to meet the constitutional requirements stipulated by the Supreme Court in Gregg v. Georgia for the administration of state death penalty laws.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 41
JEL Classification: J15, K14, K49working papers series
Date posted: April 14, 2011
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