New Economics Papers
on Law and Economics
Issue of 2011‒04‒23
five papers chosen by
Jeong-Joon Lee, Towson University

  1. Econometric Estimates of Deterrence of the Death Penalty:<br> Facts or Ideology? By Gebhard Kirchgässner
  2. Law and Peace: Contracts and the Success of the Danish Dairy Cooperatives By Ingrid Henriksen; Morten Hviid; Paul Sharp
  3. The Simple Economics of Class Action: Private Provision of Club and Public Goods By Cassone, Alberto; Ramello, Giovanni B.
  4. Transnational Justice and Democracy By Rainer Forst
  5. Sentencing Guidelines and Judicial Discretion: Quasi-experimental Evidence from Human Calculation Errors By Shawn D. Bushway; Emily G. Owens; Anne Morrison Piehl

  1. By: Gebhard Kirchgässner
    Abstract: In 2007, the Wall Street Journal published an article claiming that each execution saves more than 70 lives. This example is used to show how easy it is, using simple or advanced econometric techniques, to produce results that do or do not support the deterrence hypothesis. Moreover, we also point to some puzzles which have not been satisfactorily solved so far. We then present a critical survey of the papers published in the last ten years. It is shown how simple changes can produce quite different results using the same data. Finally, we draw some conclusions about the usefulness of statistical arguments in policy debates, but also on the moral questions involved in this particular debate.
    Keywords: Death Penalty; Deterrence; Econometric Evidence; Ideology
    JEL: K14 K42
    Date: 2011–04
  2. By: Ingrid Henriksen (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen); Morten Hviid (University of East Anglia); Paul Sharp (Humboldt University / University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: We consider the successful early emergence of cooperative creameries in Denmark in the late nineteenth century within the framework of the ‘new institutional economics’ presented by Williamson (2000). Previous work has focused on the social cohesion of the Danes, but we demonstrate that this was not sufficient for the success. The Danish legal system, which we compare to that of other countries, was also of crucial importance, along with the way in which rules were monitored and enforced. Of particular importance was the Danish cooperatives’ use of contracts, which we explore with evidence from a variety of primary and secondary sources.
    Keywords: cooperatives; creameries; contracts; new institutional economics
    JEL: K12 L31 N43 N53 Q13
    Date: 2011–04
  3. By: Cassone, Alberto; Ramello, Giovanni B.
    Abstract: This article uses economic categories to show how the reorganisation of civil procedure in the case of class action is not merely aimed at providing a more efficient litigation technology, as hierarchies (and company law) might do for other productive activities, but that it also serves to create a well defined economic organization ultimately aimed at producing a set of goods, first and foremost among which are justice and efficiency. Class action has the potential to recreate, in the judicial domain, the same effects that individual interests and motivations, governed by the perfect competition paradigm, bring to the market. Moreover, through economic analysis it is possible to rediscover not only the productive function of this legal machinery, but also that partial compensation of victims and large profits for the class counsel, far from being a side-effect, are actually a necessary condition for reallocation of the costs and risks associated with the legal action.
    Keywords: class action, collective litigation, mass tort, club, liability, deterrence
    JEL: K41 D71 D74 K13 H41
    Date: 2011–04
  4. By: Rainer Forst
    Abstract: This paper argues against three traditional dogmas in political theory: the thesis of the (conceptual and practical) incompatibility between democracy and justice; the idea that a context of justice only exists within the confines of a state; and the view that political democracy presupposes a demos organised within a state. Only if these dogmas are overcome can a proper conception of transnational justice and democracy be worked out. The key to this is the right picture of justice as based on a principle of discursive justification.
    Keywords: democracy; democratization; discourse; normative political theory; political science; supranationalism
    Date: 2011–04–15
  5. By: Shawn D. Bushway; Emily G. Owens; Anne Morrison Piehl
    Abstract: There is a debate about whether advisory non-binding sentencing guidelines affect the sentences outcomes of individuals convicted in jurisdictions with this sentencing framework. Identifying the impact of sentencing guidelines is a difficult empirical problem because court actors may have preferences for sentencing severity that are correlated with the preferences that are outlined in the guidelines. But, in Maryland, ten percent of the recommended sentences computed in the guideline worksheets contain calculation errors. We use this unique source of quasi-experimental variation to quantify the extent to which sentencing guidelines influence policy outcomes. Among drug offenses, we find that the direct impact of the guidelines is roughly ½ the size of the overall correlation between recommendations and outcomes. For violent offenses, we find the same ½ discount for sentence recommendations that are higher than they should have been, but more responsiveness to recommendations that are too low. We find no evidence that the guidelines themselves directly affect discretion for property offenders, perhaps because judges generally have substantial experience with property cases and therefore do not rely on the errant information. Sentences are more sensitive to both accurate and inaccurate recommendations for crimes that occur less frequently and have more complicated sentencing. This suggests that when the court has more experience, the recommendations have less influence. More tentative findings suggest that, further down the decision chain, parole boards counteract the remaining influence of the guidelines.
    JEL: K14 K42
    Date: 2011–04

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