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.
CitationBindler, Anna, and Randi Hjalmarsson. 2018. "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