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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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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021



A Reply to Rubin on the Death Penalty

(p.261) Chapter 31 Letter
The Economists' Voice

John Donohue

Justin J. Wolfers

Columbia University Press

This chapter presents the response of Donohue and Wolfers to Rubin's “Reply to Donohue and Wolfers on the Death Penalty and Deterrence” (in Chapter 30). There, Rubin defended the analysis he did with his co-authors that estimated that each execution deters eighteen homicides. Donohue and Wolfers criticized the instrumental variables regressions employed by Rubin and his co-authors, and state that by failing to account for spatial and intertemporal correlation in their data, Rubin and his co-authors substantially overstated the precision of their estimates. With appropriate corrections, the 95 percent confidence interval surrounding their key estimate ranges from massive increases in homicide to massive decreases, instead of a relatively tight band around eighteen lives saved as they claim.

Keywords:   capital punishment, death penalty, deterrence, executions, homicides

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