Support for the Death Penalty in Developed Democracies: A Binational Comparative Case Study

By Kevin Buckler / Willian Reed Benedict / Ben Brown / International Criminal Justice Review, on 1 January 2010

To assess support for the death penalty in Mexico and South Korea, surveys were administered to students at institutions of higher education. The majority of respondents in Mexico (52.3%) and South Korea (60.8%) supported the death penalty. Given that the Mexican and South Korean governments have histories of using criminal justice agencies to suppress democratic reform, the high level of support for the death penalty indicates that a history of authoritarian governance may not inculcate widespread opposition to the punishment. Concomitantly, regression analyses of the data indicate that beliefs about the treatment afforded to criminal suspects do not significantly affect support for capital punishment. Contrary to research conducted in the United States, which has consistently shown support for capital punishment is lower among females than among males, regression analyses of the data show that gender has no impact on support for the death penalty; findings that call for a reexamination of the thesis that the gender gap in support for the death penalty in the United States is the result of a patriarchal social structure.

  • Document type Article
  • Countries list Mexico
  • Themes list Public opinion, Public debate,