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

See all articles by Libor Dusek

Libor Dusek

Charles University in Prague - Department of Economics; University of Economics, Prague

Josef Montag

Charles University in Prague - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 15, 2016

Abstract

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

Dusek, Libor and Montag, Josef, The Effects of a Simpler Criminal Procedure: Evidence from One Million Czech Cases (August 15, 2016). ISE Working Paper No. 1. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2629116 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2629116

Libor Dusek (Contact Author)

Charles University in Prague - Department of Economics ( email )

nam. Curieovych 7
Prague 1, 11640
Czech Republic

University of Economics, Prague ( email )

nam. W.Churchilla 4
Prague 3, 130 67
Czech Republic

Josef Montag

Charles University in Prague - Department of Economics ( email )

nam. Curieovych 7
Prague 1, 11640
Czech Republic

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