11 Duke J. Const. L. & Pub. Pol'y 1 (2016)

handle is hein.journals/dukpup11 and id is 1 raw text is: 










THE GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION
               OF US EXECUTIONS

                   FRANK R. BAUMGARTNER*
                         WOODY GRAM
                     KANEESHA R. JOHNSON
                     ARVIND KRISHNAMURTHY
                        COLIN P. WILSON


                           ABSTRACT
   We review statistical patterns of the geographic distribution of US
executions, compare them to homicides, and demonstrate extremely
high degrees of concentration of executions in the modern period
compared to previous historical periods. We further show that this
unprecedented level of concentration has been increasing over the past
20 years. We demonstrate that it is virtually uncorrelated with factors
related to homicides. Finally, we show that it corresponds to a statistical
distribution associated with self-reinforcing processes: a power-law
or exponential distribution.
   These findings stand whether we look at individual counties within
death-penalty states, across the 50 states of the United States, or look
at the international distribution of executions across countries in recent
years. The substantive conclusion from the statistical patterns observed
is that these cannot be explained merely by random variation around
some general average. Rather, localities start down a path, then are
reinforced in their pathways. There appears to be little to no logic about
why certain counties are the high-use counties, whereas the vast
majority have never executed a single individual in 40 years of
experience with the modern death penalty, often in spite of thousands
of homicides. Our research indicates that a main determinant of


Copyright  2016 Frank M. Baumgartner, Woody Gram, Kaneesha R. Johnson, Arvind
Krishnamurthy, and Colin P. Wilson.
*Corresponding author, Frankb@unc.edu. Baumgartner is Richard J. Richardson Distinguished
Professor of Political Science at UNC-Chapel Hill. Gram is a 2014 graduate of UNC and currently
attends the University of Richmond School of Law. Johnson, Krishamurthy, and Wilson are
current students at UNC.

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