Sentencing policy, implied demographic welfare weights, and the theory of sentencing reform

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Abstract

Different groups of people experience varying degrees of different externalities. By a government's choice of expenditures to control externalities, it affects different members of the population differently. These choices implicitly "value" the welfare of members of different groups. This paper adapts the framework developed by Ahmad and Stern (Journal of Public Economics, 1984, 25, 259-298) to infer welfare weights underlying a system of commodity taxation, to infer the welfare weights implicitly attached to different population groups by US sentencing policy. Welfare-improving directions of sentencing reform are also calculated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-193
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Public Economics
Volume59
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1996

Keywords

  • Crime
  • Sentencing reform
  • Welfare weights

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