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Andrew Bolton is a senior Economics major from Timonium, Maryland. After graduation, Andrew plans on finding a job in the Baltimore/Washington area.

Andrew Bolton

Graduation Year: 2010
Major: Economics
The Winner of Spring '10 Capstone Award

Capstone Topic:
The Determinants of State's Homicide Rates in the United States: A Look at the Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment

Andrew Bolton is a senior Economics major from Timonium, Maryland. He is minoring in Management and getting a certificate in Leadership. Andrew is a member of Lambda Chi Alpha, the McDonough Student Advisory Council, the men's tennis team, and the Ultimate Frisbee Club. In the past he was a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and assistant editor of the Macro & Micro Newsletter. After graduation, Andrew plans on finding a job in the Baltimore/Washington area.

Andrew's paper is titled "Determinants of State's Homicide Rates in the United States: A Look at the Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment". It uses data on deterrence variables, economic variables, social capital variables, and demographic variables to determine their effect on a state's homicide rate. The focus of the paper is the deterrent effect of capital punishment, due to its controversial nature.

Andrew presents his capstone paper.

Abstract

The United States, despite being one of the most developed nations in the world, sees a large number of homicides committed within its borders each year. This paper uses state level data on homicides from 2004 and 2008 to estimate the effect of multiple variables on the homicide rate. These variables come from various categories including deterrence variables, social capital variables, economic variables, and demographic variables. One particular deterrence variable that the study will focus on is capital punishment. Controversially, the United States is one of the few developed nations that still practices capital punishment within some of its states. This paper determines what effect, if any, capital punishment has on the deterrence of homicides within states. Capital punishment is ultimately found to have a negative significant effect on the homicide rate. In addition, variables for unemployment rate and percentage of residents that voted in the presidential election have a negative and significant effect on the homicide rate. Variables for arrest rate, income inequality, percentage of residents that are in poverty, percentage of residents that are African-American, and percentage of residents that do volunteer work are all found to have a positive significant effect on the homicide rate. The dummy variable controlling for Southern states, per capita income, percentage of the population that is divorced, and population density all do not have a significant effect on the homicide rate.

 
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