Ramseyer-Rasmusen ``Why is the
Japanese Conviction Rate So High?'' 4 October
This webpage contains links to the data used in the following paper.
J. Mark Ramseyer and Eric Rasmusen. ``Why is the
Japanese Conviction Rate So High?'' Journal of
Legal Studies , January 2001) 30: 53-88. Conviction
rates are high in Japan. Why? We suggest it is because
Japanese prosecutors are understaffed. If they can afford to
bring only their strongest cases, judges see only the most
obviously guilty defendants, and high conviction rates would
then follow. Crucially, however, Japanese judges face biased
incentives. A judge who acquits a defendant runs significant
risks of hurting his career and earns scant hope of positive
payoffs. Using data on the careers and published opinions of
321 Japanese judges (all judges who published an opinion on
a criminal case in 1976 or 1979), we find skewed
incentives to convict. First, a judge who ---trying a
defendant alone - acquits the defendant will spend during
the next decade an extra year and a half in branch office
assignments. Second, a judge who acquits a defendant but
finds the acquittal reversed on appeal will spend an extra
two years in branch offices. Conversely, a judge who finds a
conviction reversed incurs no substantial penalty.
Unfortunately for innocent suspects, the absence of an
unbiased judiciary also reduces the incentives Japanese
prosecutors have to prosecute only the most obviously guilty
defendants. In Ascii txt and (
Acrobat pdf) . The fuller, working paper version, with the tobit regressions
and the mathematical derivations, is available at Acrobat pdf.
Here are the files:
- The data in STATA and Ascii with variable names in a separate file.
- The Stata command and output: the do
file and the log file.
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