How Punishment Severity Affects Jury Verdicts: Evidence from Two Natural Experiments
- (pp. 36-78)
AbstractThis paper studies the effect of punishment severity on jury decision-making using archival data from London's Old Bailey Criminal Court from 1772 to 1871. We exploit two natural experiments in English history, resulting in sharp decreases in punishment severity: the offense-specific abolition of capital punishment and the temporary halt of penal transportation during the American Revolution. Using difference-in-differences to study the former and a pre-post design for the latter, we find a large, significant and permanent impact on jury behavior: juries are more likely to convict overall and across crime categories. Moreover, the effect size differs with defendants' gender.
Citation2018. "How Punishment Severity Affects Jury Verdicts: Evidence from Two Natural Experiments." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 10 (4): 36-78. DOI: 10.1257/pol.20170214
- K41 Litigation Process
- K42 Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
- N43 Economic History: Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation: Europe: Pre-1913