Title: The role of accounting in the death penalty debate

Authors: Robert Peace, Thomas Reiland

Addresses: NC State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA. ' NC State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA

Abstract: Accounting plays a role in the death penalty debate. Accounting studies have compared the cost of capital punishment with the cost of life imprisonment. The studies have all shown that it is cheaper to lock convicted murderers up than it is to employ capital punishment. A survey was conducted for this paper to determine the attitudes of senior level and graduate accounting majors regarding capital punishment. Participants were asked, yes or no, whether they favoured capital punishment. Then they were given information about the accounting studies that point to the greater costs associated with the death penalty. The purpose was to determine if accounting applications and dollar cost, factors in classical, rational and economic choice structure, had an influence on those with an academic investment in the accounting profession. The data collected show that accounting students were statistically consistent with the population in general in favour of the death penalty.

Keywords: death penalty; public policy debate; accounting studies; social costs; capital punishment; life imprisonment; USA; United States.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCA.2010.030339

International Journal of Critical Accounting, 2010 Vol.2 No.1, pp.79 - 95

Published online: 14 Dec 2009 *

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