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The Economists' VoiceTop Economists Take On Today's Problems$
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Joseph Stiglitz, Aaron Edlin, and J. Bradford DeLong

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231143653

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231143653.001.0001

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Reply to Donohue and Wolfers on the Death Penalty and Deterrence

Reply to Donohue and Wolfers on the Death Penalty and Deterrence

(p.257) Chapter 30 Reply to Donohue and Wolfers on the Death Penalty and Deterrence
The Economists' Voice

Paul H. Rubin

Columbia University Press

This chapter presents Rubin's response to unfavorable comments by John Donohue and Gary Becker (in Chapter 29) on a paper of which he co-authored. Rubin claims that their comments are in some instances unfair or incorrect, and he tries to briefly correct some of their misstatements. Among these is Donohue and Becker's comment that “the authors of these papers started with strong beliefs in the deterrent effect of the death penalty and chose to emphasize the evidence supporting these prior beliefs.”. Rubin denies that he and his co-authors had strong prior beliefs; one of them was actually opposed to the death penalty. In fact, one of his co-authors recently wrote paper claiming that the deterrent effect may be limited to a few states and that in most states, capital punishment likely has no effect, or even a positive effect, on murders.

Keywords:   capital punishment, death penalty, deterrence

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