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Deterrence and the Death Penalty

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)
Original Solicitation

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $85,000)

This study will use an ad hoc committee convened by the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to identify and analyze the strengths and limitations of several contemporary studies on the deterrent effect of the death penalty. The studys goal is to produce a report that will inform researchers, the courts, legislators, and the public about what conclusions are supported by research evidence, and what beliefs, conclusions and policies lack research support. Empirical methods have only become a part of the debate regarding the death penalty since the 1970s, and the initial studies did not hold up to rigorous scrutiny. However, more recent studies have been better designed than their predecessors, and may offer valuable insight into the deterrent value of capital punishment. Because of its interest in this topic, and in supporting research that may inform critical justice system policies, NIJ is providing $85,000 of the total project costs of $385,000. This project involves the secondary analysis of existing data. The NRC will appoint a small committee consisting of experts from the disciplines of econometrics, statistics, sociology, criminology, law, and public policy. The committee will hold three meetings, including a two-day workshop that will examine the empirical evidence on the deterrent effect of the death penalty. The committee will commission re-analysis of existing data sets and may commission new empirical treatments of observational data on a core set of covariates related to crime and capital punishment. Subsequently, the committee will hold private, deliberative meetings to complete their analysis and prepare a report. ca/ncf

Date Created: September 1, 2010