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http://ssrn.com/abstract=2194605
 
 

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Crime, Punishment, and Politics: An Analysis of Political Cycles in Criminal Sentencing


Carlos Berdejo


Loyola Marymount University

Noam Yuchtman


University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business

December 28, 2012

Review of Economics and Statistics, Forthcoming
Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2012-50

Abstract:     
Whether judges respond to political pressure is an important question occupying social scientists. We present evidence that Washington State judges respond to such pressure by sentencing serious crimes more severely. Sentences are around 10% longer at the end of a judge's political cycle than the beginning; deviations above the sentencing guidelines increase by 50% across the electoral cycle. We conduct robustness and falsi fication exercises and distinguish between judges' election cycles and other officials' by exploring non-linear eff ects of electoral proximity. Our fi ndings inform debates over judicial elections, and highlight the interaction between judicial discretion and the influence of judicial elections.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 65

JEL Classification: K40, K42, D72

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Date posted: December 30, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Berdejo, Carlos and Yuchtman, Noam, Crime, Punishment, and Politics: An Analysis of Political Cycles in Criminal Sentencing (December 28, 2012). Review of Economics and Statistics, Forthcoming; Loyola-LA Legal Studies Paper No. 2012-50. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2194605

Contact Information

Carlos Berdejo (Contact Author)
Loyola Marymount University ( email )
7900 Loyola Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90045
United States
Noam Yuchtman
University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )
545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
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