How Common are Electoral Cycles in Criminal Sentencing?

29 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2019

See all articles by Christian Dippel

Christian Dippel

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management

Michael Poyker

Columbia University - Columbia Business School

Date Written: March 2019

Abstract

Existing empirical evidence suggests a pervasive pattern of electoral cycles in criminal sentencing in the U.S.: judges appear to pass more punitive sentences when they are up for re-election, consistent with models of signaling where voters have more punitive preferences than judges. However, this pervasive evidence comes from only three states. Combining the existing evidence with data we collected from eight additional states, we are able to reproduce previous results, but find electoral cycles in only one of the eight additional states. Sentencing cycles appear to be the exception rather than the norm. We find that their existence hinges on the level of competition in judicial elections, which varies considerably across states.

Institutional subscribers to the NBER working paper series, and residents of developing countries may download this paper without additional charge at www.nber.org.

Suggested Citation

Dippel, Christian and Poyker, Mikhail, How Common are Electoral Cycles in Criminal Sentencing? (March 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w25716. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3368006

Christian Dippel (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Anderson School of Management ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States

Mikhail Poyker

Columbia University - Columbia Business School ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.poykerm.com

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
1
Abstract Views
12
PlumX Metrics