Academic report

Estimating the effect of death penalty moratoriums on homicide rates using the synthetic control method

By Stephen N. Oliphant, on 18 September 2022


Research examining death penalty deterrence has been characterized as inconclusive and uninformative. The present analysis heeds a recommendation from prior research to examine single-state changes in death penalty policy using the synthetic control method. Data from the years 1979–2019 were used to construct synthetic controls and estimate the effects of death penalty moratoriums on homicide rates in Illinois, New Jersey, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Moratoriums on capital punishment resulted in nonsignificant homicide reductions in all four states.

  • Document type Academic report
  • Countries list United States
  • Themes list Moratorium