Gender disparities in sentencing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper uses the universe of convictions in France between 2000 and 2003 to document the gender gap in sentencing. It reveals three main findings. First, during this period, and after controlling for very precise descriptions of the offenses as well as other observable characteristics, women received prison sentences that were 15 days shorter, on average, than those of men who committed comparable offenses. This represents a 33% decrease relative to the average prison length in the sample (45 days in the entire sample). Second, this gender gap is also observed for mixed-gender pairs of criminals (one man and one woman) who are convicted together, on the same day, by the same person and for the same crime. Lastly, this paper presents robust evidence that the gender gap is affected by the gender of the judge, but not the prosecutor. Using the evolution of the courts' composition between 2000 and 2003, the results show that a one-standard-deviation increase in the number of women in the court decreases the gender gap by 10%.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages41
Early online date19 Jan 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jan 2020

Structured keywords

  • ECON Applied Economics
  • ECON CEPS Welfare


  • criminal justice
  • sentencing
  • gender gap

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