The Effect of District Attorneys on Local Criminal Justice Outcomes

62 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2018 Last revised: 11 May 2020

See all articles by Sam Krumholz

Sam Krumholz

U.S. Department of Justice - Antitrust Division

Date Written: January 3, 2019

Abstract

n 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 6-8% increase in new prison admissions and new sentenced months per capita in the four years following their election. Effects are disproportionately driven by changes in incarceration for drug offenses. 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)

U.S. Department of Justice - Antitrust Division ( email )

DC
United States

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