Examining the county-level political considerations associated with declining reliance on the death penalty from 1990 to 2010*
Theorists have placed considerable emphasis on the role that political factors play in shaping jurisdictional use of the death penalty. However, scholars have yet to empirically examine whether these political explanations account for reliance on this punishment across counties in the United States. Furthermore, empirical research that has examined the political factors associated with the dramatic decline in the use of the death penalty in the late 20th and early 21st centuries has been limited. In order to address these gaps in the literature, this study examines whether the variables derived from three political perspectives are associated with use of death sentences across 2,572 counties in the United States from 1990 to 2010. The results from this study indicate support for the key propositions within the partisan politics, religious fundamentalist sentiment, and economic threat hypotheses. However, in contrast to the results from prior studies, no support was shown for the direct relationship between the size of African American populations and local reliance on the death penalty.
Criminology and Criminal Justice
capital punishment, crime politics, penal policy, social threat
Amidon, Ethan, and John M. Eassey. "Examining the county‐level political considerations associated with declining reliance on the death penalty from 1990 to 2010." Criminology (2021).