The Effect of District Attorneys on Local Criminal Justice Outcomes

67 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2018 Last revised: 9 Jan 2019

See all articles by Sam Krumholz

Sam Krumholz

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 3, 2019

Abstract

In the United States, elected district attorneys' offices prosecute over 85% of all felony cases, but we know little about their effect on local criminal justice outcomes. Using a newly-collected dataset of district attorney elections, I show that the a Republican district attorney leads to a 18-21% increase in new prison admissions in the two years following their election, while a nonwhite district attorney leads to a 10% decline. In both cases, there are no significant effects on local crime or arrest rates. These results show that the identity of local district attorneys is an important determinant of incarceration rates.

Keywords: law enforcement; district attorneys; law and economics; mass incarceration

JEL Classification: H7; K1; K4

Suggested Citation

Krumholz, Sam, The Effect of District Attorneys on Local Criminal Justice Outcomes (January 3, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3243162 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3243162

Sam Krumholz (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Economics ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0508
United States

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