NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Laura Argys

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Working Papers

February 2003Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die? An Analysis of Prisoners on Death Row in the United States
with Naci Mocan: w9507
Using data on the entire population of prisoners under a sentence of death in the U.S. between 1977 and 1997, this paper investigates the probability of being executed on death row in any given year, as well as the probability of commutation when reaching the end of death row. The analyses control for personal characteristics and previous criminal record of the death row inmates. We link the data on death row inmates to a number of characteristics of the state of incarceration, including variables which allow us to assess the degree to which the political process enters into the final outcome in a death penalty case. Inmates with only a grade school diploma are more likely to receive clemency, and those with some college attendance are less likely to have their sentence commuted. Blacks a...

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