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The deterrent effect of the death penalty from an econometric point of view

[journal article]

Toth, Zoltan J.

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Abstract The present paper deals with whether the death penalty deters murderers from committing capital crimes. It examines this matter on the basis of those empirical investigations conducted in the last two decades by, primarily, American economists and criminologists. These analyses presented in my study attempted to reveal using different statistical methods whether people’s strong belief in that capital punishment can prevent committing a certain sum of nonnegligent manslaughters in the future through the potential perpetrators’ fear of being executed if arrested is indeed corroborated by empirical studies. In my essay I examine this issue in three chapters. In the first and the second one I review some of those partial researches made in the last two decades in this field in the United States; the third chapter surveys those studies conducted by one of the most famous and most influential contemporary econometrists, Joanna M. Shepherd; and, in the end, the fourth chapter introduces some critiques and extensions of Shepherd’s results. As a conclusion I state that there is still not irrefutable evidence either that capital punishment does certainly have or that it undoubtedly does not have any deterrent effect.
Keywords death penalty; crime fighting; deterrence; punitivity; penalty assessment; prevention
Classification Law
Free Keywords capital punishment; death penalty; criminology
Document language English
Publication Year 2012
Page/Pages p. 151-186
Journal De iurisprudentia et iure publico - Journal of Legal and Political Sciences, 6 (2012) 1-2
ISSN 1789-0446
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications