Justice Quarterly

Lehmann, P.S., and J.T. Pickett*



Scholars have theorized that people who report past economic hardship and those who forecast future economic instability will be more likely to support punitive criminal justice policies than those who do not. Only recently have researchers begun to empirically examine this association, and the findings from this small literature have been highly inconsistent. The current study contributes to this line of inquiry by investigating a uniquely rich set of economic insecurity measures included in a very large national survey (N = 9,060) fielded during a time period of special theoretical salience: the Great Recession of 2007–2009. Specifically, using survey data from the Cooperative Campaign Analysis Project, we explore the effects of experienced and expected personal, vicarious, and societal economic insecurity on support for the death penalty. Contrary to the hypotheses, expectations of future economic insecurity are negatively associated with death penalty support, but this relationship is conditional on respondents’ demographics. © 2016 Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

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* Denotes CSDA Associates, Affiliates, and Staff