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Deterrence and the Death Penalty. Llad Phillips. VI. Lecture Six: “Deterrence and the Death Penalty”, Professor Phillips Ch. 10 (P&V) "Isolating Deterrence Using the Simultaneous Equation System" References: Gary Becker, "Crime and Punishment:

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VI. Lecture Six: “Deterrence and the Death Penalty”,

Professor Phillips

Ch. 10 (P&V) "Isolating Deterrence Using the

Simultaneous Equation System"

References: Gary Becker, "Crime and Punishment:

An Economic Approach" Journal of Political Economy,

March/April 1968 (RBR)


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Economic Conditions and Crime

  • California Crime Index Turns Back Up in the New Millenium


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Damages: US Violence, 1993

Source: National Institute of Justice, Victim Costs and Consequences (1996)


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Increase in CA Homicides

  • 2002 to 2003: at least 10 more homicides

    • @$1,191,000, increased damages of $11.9 million, minimum

  • 2003: 2402 homicides

    • @$1,191,000, total damages of $ 2.86 billion

http://caag.state.ca.us/


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Schematic of the Criminal Justice System

Causes ?

Weak Link

Offense

Rate Per

Capita

Crime Generation

Expected

Cost of

Punishment

(detention,

deterrence)

Expenditures

Crime Control


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Questions About Crime

  • Does the Expected Severity of Punishment Deter Crime?

    • expected severity = probability of punishment * severity of punishment

      • e.g. in LA County: 0.005*death penalty

  • Why Do We Keep Building Prisons at Great Expense to Warehouse Convicts?

    • Doesn’t deterrence work?

    • Do we have to rely on detention?


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Controversy About the Death Penalty

  • Death penalty is the most severe sentence.

    • Does it deter crime?

      • Opponents of the death penalty say no.

        • Their evidence? Critiques of studies that indicate the death penalty is a deterrent.

  • Why are so few murderers who receive the death sentence executed in California?

    • Death sentence appeases the proponents.

    • Few executions appeases the opponents.



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Policy Impact of Opponents to the Death Penalty

  • As an instrument for crime control, deterrence has been a casualty of the argument about the death penalty.

    • The argument: if the death penalty does not deter murderers, then deterrence must not work as a control.

  • As a consequence, society relies more and more on detention for crime control.

    • Society builds more and more prisons.


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Homicide in Los Angeles County

  • 1990-1994: 9442 homicides

  • Increasing number of gang murders

    • > 40 % of the total

  • Only 1 in 3 murders leads to punishment

    • gang killings are harder to solve


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Branching Diagram

unsolved

46%

other

9442 homicides

in LA County

13%

54%

dismissed

or not guilty

solved

87%

32%

arrest and

prosecution

(47%)

68%

guilty (32%)


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Branching Diagram, Continued

dismissed

or not guilty

Manslaughter

15 years to life

(7.0%)

50%

Guilty (32%)

25 years to life

(5.0%)

50%

1st & 2nd degree

murder (16%)

life without parole

(3.5%)

3.1%

death sentence

( 0.5%)


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Who has benefited the most

from the decline in the homicide

rate in the nineties?


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Who is the victim, family, friend

or stranger?

http://caag.state.ca.us/ Homicide in California, 1998


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U.S.





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Administration of Capital Sentences in the US

Stock

Outflow

Inflow

Prisoners on

Death Row

Sentenced to Death

Sentences

Commuted,

Executions



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The Death Penalty in California

  • Eleven persons were executed between 1965 and 2005

  • In January 2005, there were 640 convicts on death row


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California Department of Corrections:

http//www.cdc.state.ca.us/





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Gas

Chamber


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Split Personality Behaviors

Jack Hirshleifer: “The Expanding Domain

of Economics”

Economic Man

motive: self-interest

Work and

no violence

Choice

Economic Man

motive: self-interest

with episodes of

antagonism

Work and

brawl in bars


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Motivation for Violence: Antagonism

Assaulters

Iso-preference

Lines

Assaulter’s

Income

High

Total or Social Income

Low

Victim’s Income


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expect $24,000/yr

Work and

no violence

choice

Apprehended: lose

1 month in court and

jail, $22,000

0.1

Work and

brawl in bars

0.9

Not apprehended

$24,000

Expected income: 0.1*$22,000 + 0.9*$24,000 = $23,800


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Questions About Statistical Studies of Deterrence

  • Do we know enough about the factors that cause crime?

    • Can we find variables that will control for variation in crime generation?

  • We have better measures for the factors that control crime than for the factors that cause crime.

    • Unknown variation in crime generation may mask the effects of crime control.


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Schematic of the Criminal Justice System

Causes ?

Weak Link

Offense

Rate Per

Capita

Crime Generation

Expected

Cost of

Punishment

(detention,

deterrence)

Expenditures

Crime Control


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Crime Generation

1. variation of offense rate per capita with expected cost of punishment

2. Shift in the relationship with a change in causal factors

Offense

rate per

capita

crime generation function

Expected cost(severity) of punishment


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Crime Generation

1. variation of offense rate per capita with expected cost of punishment

2. Shift in the relationship with a change in causal factors

Offense

rate per

capita

crime generation function

High causal conditions

Low causal conditions

Expected cost(severity) of punishment


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Production Function for the Criminal Justice System (CJS)

1. Variation in expected costs of punishment with

criminal justice system expenditure per capita

Expected

costs of

punishment

production function

Criminal Justice System expenditures per capita


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Four-Way Diagram: Crime Generation & Crime Control

per capita expenditures on CJS

offense rate per capita

Crime Generation

expected cost of punishment


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Four-Way Diagram: Crime Generation & Crime Control

per capita expenditures on CJS

per capita

expenditures

on CJS

offense rate per capita

Production

Function

Crime Generation

expected cost of punishment


Slide52 l.jpg

Four-Way Diagram: Crime Generation & Crime Control

per capita expenditures on CJS

square

per capita

expenditures

on CJS

450

offense rate per capita

Production

Function

Crime Generation

expected cost of punishment


Slide53 l.jpg

Four-Way Diagram: Crime Generation & Crime Control

per capita expenditures on CJS

1

square

per capita

expenditures

on CJS

450

1

offense rate per capita

Production

Function

Crime Generation

expected cost of punishment


Slide54 l.jpg

Four-Way Diagram: Crime Generation & Crime Control

per capita expenditures on CJS

1

square

per capita

expenditures

on CJS

450

1

offense rate per capita

Production

Function

Crime Generation

expected cost of punishment


Slide55 l.jpg

Four-Way Diagram: Crime Generation & Crime Control

per capita expenditures on CJS

1

square

per capita

expenditures

on CJS

450

1

offense rate per capita

Production

Function

Crime Generation

expected cost of punishment


Slide56 l.jpg

Four-Way Diagram: Crime Generation & Crime Control

per capita expenditures on CJS

1

square

per capita

expenditures

on CJS

450

1

offense rate per capita

Production

Function

Crime Generation

expected cost of punishment


Slide57 l.jpg

Four-Way Diagram: Crime Generation & Crime Control

per capita expenditures on CJS

1

square

2

per capita

expenditures

on CJS

2

450

1

offense rate per capita

Production

Function

Crime Generation

expected cost of punishment


Slide58 l.jpg

Four-Way Diagram: Crime Generation & Crime Control

per capita expenditures on CJS

1

square

2

3

per capita

expenditures

on CJS

2

450

1

offense rate per capita

Production

Function

Crime Generation

expected cost of punishment


Slide59 l.jpg

Four-Way Diagram: Crime Generation & Crime Control

per capita expenditures on CJS

1

2

3

offense rate per capita


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Source: Report to the Nation on Crime and Justice


Slide61 l.jpg

Four-Way Diagram: Crime Generation & Crime Control

per capita expenditures on CJS

1

square

2

3

per capita

expenditures

on CJS

2

450

1

offense rate per capita

Production

Function

Crime Generation

expected cost of punishment


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Summary

  • The death penalty stirs strong emotions.

  • To attack the death penalty, opponents have attacked the concept of deterrence.

  • Proponents of deterrence have lost the argument to proponents of detention.

    • Weakness: not understanding causes of crime.

  • Detention is the principal instrument of crime control policy today in the US.




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