Lethal Elections: Gubernatorial Politics and the Timing of Executions

Syracuse University Center for Policy Research Working Paper No. 40

41 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2011

See all articles by Jeffrey D. Kubik

Jeffrey D. Kubik

Syracuse University - Department of Economics

John R. Moran

Penn State University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 1, 2002

Abstract

We document the existence of a gubernatorial election cycle in state executions, suggesting that election year political considerations play a role in determining the timing of executions. Our analysis indicates that states are approximately 25 percent more likely to conduct executions in gubernatorial election years than in other years. We also find that elections have a larger effect on the probability that an African American defendant will be executed in a given year than on the probability that a white defendant will be executed, and that the overall effect of elections is largest in the South. These findings raise concerns that state executions may fail to meet the constitutional requirements stipulated by the Supreme Court in Gregg v. Georgia for the administration of state death penalty laws.

JEL Classification: J15, K14, K49

Suggested Citation

Kubik, Jeffrey D. and Moran, John R., Lethal Elections: Gubernatorial Politics and the Timing of Executions (July 1, 2002). Syracuse University Center for Policy Research Working Paper No. 40. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1808892 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1808892

Jeffrey D. Kubik (Contact Author)

Syracuse University - Department of Economics ( email )

426 Eggers Hall
Syracuse, NY 13244-1020
United States
315-443-9063 (Phone)
315-443-1081 (Fax)

John R. Moran

Penn State University ( email )

116 Henderson Bldg.
Penn State University
University Park, PA 16802
United States

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