The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: The Case of Australia

Tue, 11 Apr 2017 13:00:00 IST

Vincent O'Sullivan, University of Lancaster

Location: UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy Seminar Room

The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: The Case of Australia

Abstract

Using state-level panel data from Australia, covering the years 1910-2010, I find that the death penalty did not have a deterrent effect on homicide rates. Executing prisoners did not affect homicides in future years. Nor did the abolition of the death penalty affect subsequent homicide rates. As well as controlling for state and year fixed effects, the models control for immigration rates, ethnic mix, the ratio of men to women, marital breakdown, unemployment, and variables which capture aspects of the justice system such as policing numbers. To account for potential endogeneity of executions and the death penalty being abolished, I use state-level election results as an instrumental variable.

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