Archive for June 30th, 2012

In 2011 professor Kirchgaessner from the University of St.Gallen published an interesting article in Kyklos:

Econometric Estimates of Deterrence of the Death Penalty: Facts or Ideology?

Therein he discusses the long literature of economic analyses of the death penalty in the United States. At the core of the topic there is the question whether or not capital punishment reduces the number of homicides.

After having reviewed several inconclusive previous studies, Kirchgaessner describes the econometric problems that lead to inconsistent estimates. Furthermore he states four questions that need convincing answers by the proponents of the death penalty:

1) Why is the homicide rate in those U.S. states which do not apply the death penalty consistently lower compared to those states applying it?

2) Why does the number of executions not have an impact on the difference in the development of the homicide rates between those states which do not apply the death penalty compared to those states applying it?

3) Why is the homicide rate in Canada consistently lower than in the United States despite the fact that Canada does not apply the death penalty but the United States does?

4) Why does the number of executions not have an impact on the difference in the development of the homicide rates between Canada and the United States despite the fact that Canada does not apply the death penalty but the United States does?

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