March 9, 2015

#WARONMEN: Prof. Starr’s research shows large unexplained gender disparities in federal criminal cases.

If you’re a criminal defendant, it may help—a lot—to be a woman. At least, that’s what Prof. Sonja Starr’s research on federal criminal cases suggests. Prof. Starr’s recent paper, “Estimating Gender Disparities in Federal Criminal Cases,” looks closely at a large dataset of federal cases, and reveals some significant findings. After controlling for the arrest offense, criminal history, and other prior characteristics, “men receive 63% longer sentences on average than women do,” and “[w]omen are…twice as likely to avoid incarceration if convicted.” This gender gap is about six times as large as the racial disparity that Prof. Starr found in another recent paper.

You would have thought that such a huge gender disparity would have gotten more attention. Well, no, not really . . .

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