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Econometric Estimates of Deterrence of the Death Penalty: Facts or Ideology?

31 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2011  

Gebhard Kirchgässner

Universität St. Gallen; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Date Written: April 20, 2011

Abstract

In 2007, the Wall Street Journal published an article claiming that each execution saves more than 70 lives. This example is used to show how easy it is, using simple or advanced econo-metric techniques, to produce results that do or do not support the deterrence hypothesis. Moreover, we also point to some puzzles which have not been satisfactorily solved so far. We then present a critical survey of the papers published in the last ten years. It is shown how simple changes can produce quite different results using the same data. Finally, we draw some conclusions about the usefulness of statistical arguments in policy debates, but also on the moral questions involved in this particular debate.

Keywords: Death Penalty, Deterrence, Econometric Evidence, Ideology

JEL Classification: K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Kirchgässner, Gebhard, Econometric Estimates of Deterrence of the Death Penalty: Facts or Ideology? (April 20, 2011). U. of St. Gallen Law & Economics Working Paper No. 2011-05. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1816542 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1816542

Gebhard Kirchgaessner (Contact Author)

Universität St. Gallen ( email )

SIAW, Bodanstrasse 8
CH-9000 St.Gallen
Switzerland
+41 71 224 23 47 (Phone)
+41 71 224 22 98 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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