Date of Award

5-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

Economics

Advisor

Bodenhorn, Howard

Committee Member

Maloney , Michael

Committee Member

Sauer , Raymond

Abstract

Using an econometric model, this paper examines the effect a criminal's alcohol usage may have played in sentence length in nineteenth century Illinois. With the prevalence of the temperance movement, did jurors' feelings about alcohol usage influence the sentencing of criminals? This paper also seeks to identify other extra-legal factors affecting Illinois sentencing. My thesis begins by explaining the historical context of both the Illinois criminal system and the temperance movement during the nineteenth century. The next section explains the data and relevant summary statistics. The driving theory and empirical issues that arise follow. Finally, the determinant factors in sentencing will be discussed as revealed through analysis. A summary of the major findings and ideas for further research conclude. No extra-legal factors were found to be a significant factor in nineteenth century Illinois sentencing. Several possible explanations for the lack of extra-legal factors are discussed.

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