Deterring Murder: A Reply (Response to Article by Carol Steiker, John Donohue, And Justin Wolfers in This Issue, P. 751, 791) by Stanford Law School

Deterring Murder: A Reply (Response to Article by Carol Steiker, John Donohue, And Justin Wolfers in This Issue, P. 751, 791)

By Stanford Law School

  • Publication Date: 2005-12-01
  • Genre: Law

Book Summary

We are most grateful to John Donohue, Justin Wolfers, and Carol Steiker for their valuable and illuminating responses to our article. (1) Donohue and Wolfers explore empirical questions, (2) on which we have little to say. Steiker investigates the moral issues, (3) and here our Reply must be more extensive. Donohue and Wolfers believe that, with respect to the death penalty, "existing evidence for deterrence is surprisingly fragile." (4) They attack the peer-reviewed empirical work of a number of social scientists, including Hashem Dezhbakhsh, Paul Rubin, Joanna Shepherd, H. Naci Mocan, R. Kaj Gittings, and Paul Zimmerman. (5) They highlight theoretical claims by Lawrence Katz, Steven Levitt, and Ellen Shustorovich, who emphasize the infrequency of capital punishment and who thus doubt the claim of deterrence. (6) (Interestingly, Katz, Levitt, and Shusterovich do find that prison deaths have massive effects in deterring murders and other crimes, (7) Most importantly, their own work, using existing data, suggests that deterrence has not been shown.

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