Should Paris Hilton Receive a Lighter Prison Sentence Because She's Rich? Evidence from a Survey Experiment
Mendel University; Charles University in Prague - CERGE-EI (Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute)
Masaryk University - Faculty of Law
Different people experience the same punishment in with differing intensity. Some legal scholars are proposing that improving scientific knowledge and progressing technologies, such as fMRI, need and should be incorporated in our penal systems. This would facilitate calibrating the punishment not only to the crime but also to the offender’s persona, so that different people experience the same punishment for the same crime. However, such a substantial change in the criminal law and policy requires legitimacy and popular approval. We run a simple pilot experiment in order to ascertain whether such approval is in sight. We found that it may be in the case of pecuniary punishments. With regard to incarceration policies, however, the possibility of popular acceptance of such changes seems remote. This finding presents a potential challenge to the literature and may complicate the implementation of suggested reforms. We aim to extend our study to investigate the factors behind this divergence and to check robustness of our experiments in Germany and the US.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 20
Keywords: Punishment, subjectivism
JEL Classification: K14working papers series
Date posted: September 24, 2013
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