Date of Original Version

10-2011

Type

Article

Rights Management

© The Author(s) 2012. This is an electronic version of an article published by Oxford University Press. The version of record is available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/qje/qjs014

Abstract or Description

This article examines the impact of jury racial composition on trial outcomes using a data set of felony trials in Florida between 2000 and 2010. We use a research design that exploits day-to-day variation in the composition of the jury pool to isolate quasi-random variation in the composition of the seated jury, finding evidence that (i) juries formed from all-white jury pools convict black defendants significantly (16 percentage points) more often than white defendants, and (ii) this gap in conviction rates is entirely eliminated when the jury pool includes at least one black member. The impact of jury race is much greater than what a simple correlation of the race of the seated jury and conviction rates would suggest. These findings imply that the application of justice is highly uneven and raise obvious concerns about the fairness of trials in jurisdictions with a small proportion of blacks in the jury pool.

DOI

10.1093/qje/qjs014

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Published In

Quarterly Journal of Economics, 127, 2, 1017-1055.