The Effects of a Simpler Criminal Procedure: Evidence from One Million Czech Cases
ISE Working Paper No. 1
56 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2015 Last revised: 25 Aug 2016
Date Written: August 15, 2016
The paper estimates the effects of a simpler criminal procedure on case durations and the probabilities that the defendant is charged and convicted. The identification strategy exploits a quasi-natural experiment in district-level implementation of criminal procedure reform in the Czech Republic. The reform allowed petty offenses to be prosecuted via a simplified (fast-track) procedure. We find very strong evidence that prosecuting a case via the fast-track procedure reduces the duration of the police/prosecutor phase of the procedure and increases the probability that the prosecutor charges the suspect at court. To a lesser extent, it also reduces the duration of the court phase of the procedure and increases the probability of conviction at trial. The fast-track procedure released resources that could potentially be spent on prosecuting serious cases. We investigate for possible spillover effects but find no evidence of their presence. Our estimates suggest that specialization of prosecutors and court senates decreased after the reform, possibly mitigating indirect efficiency gains from the reform.
Keywords: Criminal procedure, Law enforcement, Courts, Prosecutors.
JEL Classification: K14, K41, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation