Cross-National Variability in Capital Punishment: Exploring the Sociopolitical Sources of Its Differential Legal Status

By Terance D. Miethe / Hong Lu / Gini R. Deibert / International Criminal Justice Review, on 1 January 2005

Guided by existing macrolevel theories on punishment and society, the present study explores the independent and conjunctive effects of measures of sociopolitical conditions on the legal retention of capital punishment in 185 nations in the 21st century. Significant correlations are found between a nation’s retention of legal executions for ordinary crimes and its level of economic development, primary religious orientation, citizens’ voice in governance, political stability, and recent history of extrajudicial executions. Subsequent multivariate analyses through qualitative comparative methods reveal substantial context-specific effects and wide variability in legal retention even within countries with similar sociopolitical structures. These results are then discussed in terms of their theoretical implications for future cross-national research on punishment and society.

  • Document type Article
  • Themes list Networks,