Unequal Jury Representation and Its Consequences
AbstractWe analyze the extent and consequences of unequal representation on juries in Harris County, Texas. We first document that residents from predominantly White and high-income neighborhoods are substantially overrepresented on juries. Using quasirandom variation in those called for jury duty each day, we next establish that Black defendants are more likely to be convicted and receive longer sentences from juries with more residents from these overrepresented neighborhoods. We estimate that equal representation would reduce Black defendants' median sentence length by 50 percent and the probability of receiving a life sentence by 67 percent. Straightforward remedies could mitigate these legally unwarranted racial disparities.
CitationAnwar, Shamena, Patrick Bayer, and Randi Hjalmarsson. 2022. "Unequal Jury Representation and Its Consequences." American Economic Review: Insights, 4 (2): 159-74. DOI: 10.1257/aeri.20210149
- J15 Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
- K41 Litigation Process