Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1884362
 
 

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Do Sentencing Enhancements for Drunk Driving Decrease Recidivism? A Regression Discontinuity Approach


Miguel De Figueiredo


University of California, Berkeley; Yale University - Law School

July 12, 2011


Abstract:     
Using micro-level data on drunk driving arrests in Arkansas, this paper exploits discontinuities in sentencing enhancements at various blood alcohol content (BAC) levels to estimate causally the effect of the increasing penalties on recidivism. Specifically, the research design examines defendants just above and just below a BAC level of 0.15 to see if the effect of an increased license suspension by an additional two months has an effect on recidivism. The paper finds that increased penalties in the neighborhood of the discontinuity in the form of license suspensions have no statistically significant effect on drunk driving recidivism, suggesting that the increased penalty does not deter defendants from committing another drunk driving offense in the future. The paper’s focus on suspension of privileges as a form of punishment, coupled with its rich micro-level data (15,973 defendants from two jurisdictions) and research design that enables reliable causal inferences and estimation, make it contrast with numerous studies in the extant literature.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 21

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Date posted: July 19, 2011  

Suggested Citation

de Figueiredo, Miguel, Do Sentencing Enhancements for Drunk Driving Decrease Recidivism? A Regression Discontinuity Approach (July 12, 2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1884362 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1884362

Contact Information

Miguel De Figueiredo (Contact Author)
University of California, Berkeley ( email )
Department of Political Science
210 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
Yale University - Law School ( email )
P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States
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