49 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2007
Date Written: October 2003
Evidence on the deterrent effect of capital punishment is important for many states that are currently reconsidering their position on the issue. We examine the deterrent hypothesis using county-level, post-moratorium panel data and a system of simultaneous equations. The procedure we employ overcomes common aggregation problems, eliminates the bias arising from unobserved heterogeneity, and provides evidence relevant for current conditions. Our results suggest that capital punishment has a strong deterrent effect; each execution results, on average, in 18 fewer murders%97with a margin of error of plus or minus 10. Tests show that results are not driven by tougher sentencing laws, and are also robust to many alternative specifications.
Keywords: Capital Punishment; death penalty; deterrence
JEL Classification: K0, K4
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Dezhbakhsh, Hashem and Rubin, Paul H. and Shepherd, Joanna, Does Capital Punishment Have a Deterrent Effect? New Evidence from Post-Moratorium Panel Data (October 2003). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=259538 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.259538