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Legal Institutions and Social Values: Theory and Evidence from Plea Bargaining Regimes

Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 11: 867–893 (2014)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem Legal Research Paper No. 15-22

37 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2014 Last revised: 30 Sep 2015

Yehonatan Givati

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law; George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 20, 2014

Abstract

How do social values shape legal institutions across countries? To address this question I focus on one important legal institution -- the use of plea bargaining in criminal cases. I develop a model in which the optimal scope of plea bargaining depends on social values. Specifically, a lower social emphasis on ensuring that innocent individuals are not punished, and a greater social emphasis on ensuring that guilty individuals are punished, lead to a greater use of plea bargaining. Using unique cross-country data on social preferences for punishing the innocent versus letting the guilty go free, as well as an original coding of plea bargaining regimes across countries, I obtain results that are consistent with the model.

Suggested Citation

Givati, Yehonatan, Legal Institutions and Social Values: Theory and Evidence from Plea Bargaining Regimes (April 20, 2014). Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 11: 867–893 (2014); Hebrew University of Jerusalem Legal Research Paper No. 15-22. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2426993

Yehonatan Givati (Contact Author)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law ( email )

Jerusalem
Mount Scopus, 91905
Israel

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

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