The Political Economy of Prosecution
Posted: 4 Jun 2010
Date Written: December 2009
Contemporary advances in the field of political economy, particularly those concerning the subject of delegated authority, can provide a unifying framework for analyzing the behavior and political context of criminal prosecutors in the United States. This perspective, which focuses on the extent of conflict between an official's motives and those of other actors, and the degree to which information is unevenly distributed among those actors, is well suited for studying prosecutors — the vast majority of whom are elected but whose accountability is frequently called into question. We apply this perspective to three areas in the existing literature on prosecutors: plea bargaining, courtroom communities, and public corruption prosecution.
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