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Social Psychology on Capital Punishment - Dictionary of Arguments

Parisi I 132
Capital Punishment/Social Psychology/Nadler/Mueller: Baldus, Pulaski, and Woodworth ( 1983)(1) found that defendants were significantly more likely to receive the death penalty when the victim was White (24%) than when the victim was Black (6%).
Status: Additionally, a victim's low socioeconomic status reduced the defendant's likelihood of receiving a death sentence (Baldus et al., 1998)(2).
Race: There is also evidence for the influence of defendant race, such that Black defendants were more likely to receive the death penalty than white defendants (Baldus et al., 1998)(2). Eberhardt et al. (2006)(3) displayed to experiment participants the photographs of defendants from death-eligible cases that advanced to the death penalty phase. Controlling for aggravating and mitigating factors, severity of killing, defendant and victim SES (socioeconomic status), and defendant attractiveness, the researchers found that when the victim was White, Black defendants with stereotypically Black faces were more than twice as likely to receive death sentences than those with less stereotypically Black faces.
By contrast, when both the victim and the defendant were Black, stereotypicality of the defendant's appearance did not predict the likelihood of a death sentence. (See Blair, Judd, and Chapleau, 2004(4) for similar findings regarding Afrocentric features and sentence length.)

1. Baldus, D. C., C. Pulaski, and G. Woodworth (1983). "Comparative Review of Death Senences: An Empirical Study of the Georgia Experience." Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (19739, doi:10.2307/1143133.
2. Baldus, D. C., G. Woodworth, D. Zuckerman, and N. A. Weiner (1998). "Racial Discrimination and the Death Penalty in the Post-Furman Era: An Empirical and Legal Overview with Recent Findings from Philadelphia." Cornell Law Review 83: 1638.
3. Eberhardt, J. L., P. G. Davies, V. J. Purdie-Vaughns, and S. L. Johnson (2006). "Looking Death-
worthy Perceived Stereotypicality of Black Defendants Predicts Capital-Sentencing Outcomes.“ Psychological Science 17(5):383-386.
4. Blair, I. V., C. M. Judd, and K. M. Chapleau (2004). "The Influence of Afrocentric Facial Features in Criminal Sentencing“. Psychological science 15(10): 674-679

Nadler, Janice and Pam A. Mueller. „Social Psychology and the Law“. In: Parisi, Francesco (ed) (2017). The Oxford Handbook of Law and Economics. Vol 1: Methodology and Concepts. NY: Oxford University Press


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Social Psychology
Parisi I
Francesco Parisi (Ed)
The Oxford Handbook of Law and Economics: Volume 1: Methodology and Concepts New York 2017


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