John Donohue and Justin J. Wolfers

in The Economists' Voice

Published by Columbia University Press

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780231143653
Published online November 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780231527866 | DOI:

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This chapter presents the response of Donohue and Wolfers to Rubin's “Reply to Donohue and Wolfers on the Death Penalty and Deterrence” (in Chapter 30). There, Rubin defended the analysis he did with his co-authors that estimated that each execution deters eighteen homicides. Donohue and Wolfers criticized the instrumental variables regressions employed by Rubin and his co-authors, and state that by failing to account for spatial and intertemporal correlation in their data, Rubin and his co-authors substantially overstated the precision of their estimates. With appropriate corrections, the 95 percent confidence interval surrounding their key estimate ranges from massive increases in homicide to massive decreases, instead of a relatively tight band around eighteen lives saved as they claim.

Keywords: capital punishment; death penalty; deterrence; executions; homicides

Chapter.  576 words. 

Subjects: Public Economics

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