This paper proposes a test for racial bias in capital sentencing in the US over the period 1973-1995. We use the share of judicial errors in rst degree sentencing as an indicator of racial bias of such courts. Using an originally collected dataset, we uncover a bias against minority defendants killing white victims. The bias is present, according to our test, only in Southern States. More precisely, according to our interpretation rst degree courts tend to place less weight on the possibility of condemning an innocent in cases of minority defendants with one or more white victims relative to minority defendants who did not kill whites. The same does not hold for white defendants. This result is not explained by differences in observable characteristics of the crime or of the trial, nor by the ideological orientation of appeal courts.The paper is really well done.
Thursday, December 04, 2014
If you think we're post-racial, read the lead article from the November 2014 American Economic Review
Alesina and La Ferrara conclude: