Can Equitable Punishment Be Mandated? Estimating Impacts of Sentencing Guidelines on Disciplinary Disparities

35 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2013 Last revised: 14 Jun 2013

Gregory Gilpin

Montana State University - Bozeman

Anton Bekkerman

Montana State University - Bozeman

Date Written: March 28, 2013

Abstract

This study empirically investigates the potentially unintended effects of state laws that sought to improve safety in U.S. public school by mandating standardized student punishment. We estimate the effects of exogenous state-level variation in the quantity and type of such mandates on race-based disciplinary disparities across students who commit serious offenses. Estimation results indicate that more severe punishments are imposed in schools with higher proportions of black or Hispanic students, but such disparities are significantly dampened in states that mandate a higher number of guidelines for serious offenses. However, more guidelines for less severe misconduct tend to increase race-based disciplinary disparities and increase the severity of punishments administered for serious offenses. These outcomes extend the existing sentencing guidelines literature and offer important insights for effectively crafting future policies.

Keywords: punishment disparities, racial bias, school discipline, sentencing guidelines

JEL Classification: K42, I28, I24

Suggested Citation

Gilpin, Gregory and Bekkerman, Anton, Can Equitable Punishment Be Mandated? Estimating Impacts of Sentencing Guidelines on Disciplinary Disparities (March 28, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2241070 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2241070

Gregory Gilpin (Contact Author)

Montana State University - Bozeman ( email )

Bozeman, MT 59717-2920
United States
406 551 4887 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.montana.edu/econ/gilpin

Anton Bekkerman

Montana State University - Bozeman ( email )

Bozeman, MT 59717-2920
United States
406-994-3032 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.montana.edu/bekkerman

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