Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Daniel Bonneau and Bryan C. McCannon (affiliation not provided to SSRN and West Virginia University - College of Business & Economics) have posted Bargaining in the Shadow of the Trial? Deaths of Law Enforcement Officials and the Plea Bargaining Process on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Plea bargaining is the cornerstone of the U.S. criminal justice system and the bargaining in the shadow of the trial framework, where the plea reached is driven primarily by the expected sentence arising from a trial, is the convention for applied economists. Criminologists and legal scholars challenge the "bargaining in the shadow of the trial" model's accuracy. There has not been a test of the validity of the conceptual framework. We provide one. We use a large data set of felony cases in Florida to estimate the plea discount received. Our novel identification strategy is to consider deaths of law enforcement officials, which we argue is a newsworthy, tragic event affecting a local community and making violent crime salient to the citizens who make up the potential jury pool. Those cases, unrelated to the death, but already in process at the time and in the same location as the death, act as our treated observations experiencing an exogenous shock to their probability of conviction.