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Deterrence in the NYT

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We have some more major media attention to the modern generation of deterrence studies. Last June, an Associated Press article noted here caused quite a stir. Today, Adam Liptak has this balanced story in the New York Times. He quotes two of the authors of studies finding deterrence as saying they are personally opposed to the death penalty for other reasons. I think that is significant. As noted here, scholars doing these studies have been attacked, sometimes with patently false allegations. Not only are these studies not driven by an ideological agenda, but in some cases they actually point in the opposite direction from the authors' personal position on the death penalty question.

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The New York Times has a feature article this morning on new empirical studies by economists, suggesting that the execution of criminals may have a deterrent effect after all. This research, which purports to show that each execution prevents several v... Read More


I've found the debate over death penalty deterrence interesting, but difficult to understand given my level of understanding in the field of statistics. However, the Supreme Court appears to have given us a unique opportunity to test the dueling hypotheses. Do you or the authors you link to on the site know whether the de facto moratorium in the wake of the Baze grant has led to a statistically significant spike in murders?

Given the time lag in official statistics, I would not expect such a study for a couple of years. For previous work on single-state moratoriums, see the two Cloninger and Marchesini articles and the Sorensen et al. article in our deterrence abstract list.

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