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The Death PenaltyA Worldwide Perspective$
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Roger Hood CBE QC (Hon) DCL FBA and Carolyn Hoyle

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199228478

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199228478.001.0001

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The Question of Deterrence

The Question of Deterrence

Chapter:
(p.317) 9 The Question of Deterrence
Source:
The Death Penalty
Author(s):

Roger Hood

Carolyn Hoyle

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199228478.003.0010

This chapter examines the concept of general deterrence and analyses the research evidence on the subject, including recent econometric studies that have claimed to find a substantial deterrent effect of executions. The reviewed evidence recommends that it is not prudent to accept the hypothesis that capital punishment, as practised in the United States, deters murder to a marginally greater extent than does the threat and application of the supposedly lesser punishment of life imprisonment. The chapter argues that it is quite incorrect to conclude, when statistically significant negative coefficients have been found, that they constitute proof of deterrence.

Keywords:   general deterrence, life imprisonment, econometric studies, negative coefficient, United States

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