“No Hatred or Malice, Fear or Affection”: Media and Sentencing

Arnaud Philippe, Aurélie Ouss

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

23 Citations (Scopus)
354 Downloads (Pure)


We explore how television broadcasting of unrelated criminal justice events affects sentencing. Exploiting as-good-as-random variation in news content before a verdict, we find that sentences are 3 months longer when the verdict is reached after coverage of crime. Sentences increase with media exposure to crime, not crime itself, and the effect tapers off quickly. Our results suggest that professional experience and expertise mitigate the effect of irrelevant external information. This paper highlights the influence of noise in the news cycle: media can temporarily influence decisions by changing what is top of the mind rather than signaling deeper changes in offending or societal concerns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2134-2178
Number of pages45
JournalJournal of Political Economy
Issue number5
Early online date6 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

Structured keywords

  • ECON Applied Economics


  • Crime
  • Judicial decision making
  • media


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