Jennifer Doleac, Texas A&M

Misdemeanor Prosecution
Tuesday, 1 December 2020 - 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm
Contact information
Contact person: 
Abel Brodeur
Registration required: 
Cost to attend: 
Free of charge
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Intended audience: 

Ottawa Applied Microeconomics Lab

Abstract: Misdemeanor cases make up over 80 percent of the cases processed by the U.S. criminal justice system, yet we know little about the causal impacts of misdemeanor prosecution. We report the first estimates of the causal effects of misdemeanor prosecution on rates of subsequent arrest, prosecution, and criminal record acquisition. To do this, we leverage the quasi-random assignment of nonviolent misdemeanor cases to arraigning Assistant District Attorneys (ADAs) in a large urban district attorney's office. We find that the marginal prosecuted misdemeanor defendant has substantially higher risks of subsequent arrest, prosecution, and criminal record acquisition, and that these effects are largely driven by increases in subsequent felony charges. We further find that these effects appear to work through a longer time to case disposition, an increased likelihood of a misdemeanor conviction, and an increased likelihood of acquiring a criminal record of arrest, for the marginal prosecuted misdemeanor defendant.


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Meeting ID: 945 5989 4342

Passcode: 703142