The Deterrent Effect Of Capital Punishment In Florida: A Time Series Analysis

Scott H. Decker, Carol W. Kohfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Recent Supreme Court decisions and public opinion polls both show increased support for the use of the death penalty. Much research has been conducted to assess the effect of executions on homicide rates. Most of this research, however, has been conducted at levels of aggregation different from that at which the policy is formulated and imposed. This study looks at the effect of executions on homicides in one state, Florida, for a fifty-five year period. This analysis is focused at a significant level for policy questions. That is particulary important since Florida has executed more persons since 1930 than all but five states and currently has more people on death row than any other state. Florida has executed more people than any other state since the Supreme Court lifted its ban on executions in 1976. The importance of this analysis is underscored by the use of data points since that ban was lifted. Three different types of analysis are presented. No support for the deterrence hypothesis is found. It is argued that these results are of particular significance because of the level of aggregation, time series employed, and use of executions in the state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)422-437
Number of pages16
JournalCriminal Justice Policy Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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