Exoneree compensation and endogenous plea bargaining: Theory and experiment

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We study how plea-bargaining behaviors may respond to a change in two impor-tant policy variables in criminal law: the level of exoneree compensation and the accuracy of the exoneration process. Confirming the theoretical predictions, we experimentally find that prosecutor subjects make more lenient plea-bargaining offers in response to higher exoneree compensation, and less lenient offers in response to higher exoneration accuracy. We also find that defendant subjects do not directly respond to a variation in exoneree compensation, and are less likely to plead guilty when exoneration accuracy is lower, the effect being significantly stronger for guilty defendants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-55
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
It is an unfortunate reality that our criminal courts do err sometimes, convicting innocent individuals and releasing guilty ones.1 As society typically places a higher * Associate Professors, School of Economics, Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea. Corresponding author: Sang-Hyun Kim. We are grateful to Ralph-C. Bayer and the referees for their valuable comments, which significantly improved our paper. We are also grateful to Syngjoo Choi, Subhasish Chowdhury, Joo Young Jeon, Euncheol Shin, and the participants at various conferences for their comments. We thank Ino Cho, Miho Hong, Jisu Lee, Myunghwan Lee, and Sangyoon Nam for their research assistance. This work was supported by the Yonsei University Future-leading Research Initiative of 2019 (#2019-22-0096) and by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2018S1A5A8028855).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Mohr Siebeck.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics


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