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The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: New Evidence on an Old Controversy

David P. Phillips
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 86, No. 1 (Jul., 1980), pp. 139-148
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2778855
Page Count: 10
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The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: New Evidence on an Old Controversy
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Abstract

On the average, homicides decrease by 35.7% immediately following a publicized execution. The more publicity devoted to the execution, the the more homicides decrease thereafter. This decrease apparently occurs because capital punishment has a short-term deterrent effect on homicides. This deterrent effect has not been demonstrated previously. A long-term deterrent effect is not evidence from the findings.

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