Messing Up Texas?: A Re-analysis of the Effects of Executions on Homicides
Brandt, Patrick T.
Kovandzic, Tomislav V. .
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Executions in Texas from 1994-2005 do not deter homicides, contrary to the results of Land et al. (2009). We find that using different models-based on pre-tests for unit roots that correct for earlier model misspecifications-one cannot reject the null hypothesis that executions do not lead to a change in homicides in Texas over this period. Using additional control variables, we show that variables such as the number of prisoners in Texas may drive the main drop in homicides over this period. Such conclusions however are highly sensitive to model specification decisions, calling into question the assumptions about fixed parameters and constant structural relationships. This means that using dynamic regressions to account for policy changes that may affect homicides need to be done with significant care and attention.