Thursday, March 24, 2005
My colleague here at Emory Law, Joanna Shepherd, is one of the economist-authors of the work on which Sunstein & Vermeule rely. But in a more recent paper, Professor Shepherd reaches a more nuanced conclusion: that in the United States, “executions deter murders in six states,
. . . have no effect on murders in eight states, and
. . . increase murders in thirteen states.” She writes:
Joanna M. Shepherd, Deterrence versus Brutalization: Capital Punishment’s Differing Impacts Among States (draft, October 2004).
Also, consider--for what it's worth (I don't know what it's worth)--this comment that has been posted on the Sunstein-Vermeule paper:
|Subject: A house of cards argument
|Comment by: Karl Keys
| The entire work
depends on research that has been debunked. The researchers in the
studies key to the work, in many instances, have not permitted their
underlying data to be examined by peers. Likewise, by moving the data
just a few years in any direction you get entirely different results.
Further, the data sets appear (again the underlying data is not
available for critique) to be arbitrarily chosen to reach a desired
Put bluntly, Sunstein and Vermeule appear to have spilled much ink and drummed up much hype on shaky data. Take away the shaky data and all you have is pure spin dressed up in pretty words.
Shame on them.