Criminal Justice and Wealth Inequality: How Much Freedom Can Money Buy in Russia?
29 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2016 Last revised: 16 Jan 2017
Date Written: January 15, 2017
In many countries, the public would like to know whether their criminal judicial system is more lenient towards the wealthier citizens and if so, by how much. The calculation of the relevant statistics requires knowledge of defendants' wealth, which is not observed in most circumstances. To address this issue, this paper proposes to base the analysis on criminal traffic accidents and use the information on the car of the defendant as the proxy to wealth, in addition to other available proxies based on educational and employment information. Utilizing the multiple proxy approach based on the data from Russia, the analysis finds that the Russian judicial system is more lenient to the defendants with higher wealth. The inequality partially comes from the design of the legal system which provides for certain legal channels that naturally create those disparities. Nevertheless, the inequality persists, even after accounting for those legal channels.
Keywords: Court Rulings Disparities, Wealth Proxies
JEL Classification: K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation