Abstract

This paper explores the possibility that criminal court judges engage in discriminatory sentencing in response to judicial elections. I use a research design that (1) distinguishes between the effects of judicial elections versus preferences and (2) separates the effects of judicial elections versus the elections of other public officials. I find that incarceration rates rise by 2.4 percentage points in the final six months of the election cycle, but only for black, not white felons. These effects are more pronounced in districts where the median voter is expected to have higher levels of racial prejudice toward blacks.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-8004
Print ISSN
0022-166X
Pages
pp. 998-1031
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-27
Open Access
No
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