not provide a logical basis for linking the statistical findings back to a state’s capital punishment sanction regime. Suppose, for example, that an execution event study was conducted that provided credible evidence that the execution either increased or decreased homicides that are eligible for capital punishment. Such a study would not provide the basis for altering the sanction regime to either increase or decrease the number of executions because it would not be informative about what aspect of the regime caused the execution to have the effect identified by the study.

In summary, the committee finds that adequate justifications have not been provided to demonstrate that the various time-series-based studies of capital punishment speak to the deterrence question. It is thus immaterial whether the studies purport to find evidence in favor or against deterrence. They do not rise to the level of credible evidence on the deterrent effect of capital punishment as a determinant of aggregate homicide rates and are not useful in evaluating capital punishment as a public policy.


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