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Variability of death penalty attitude in China: an empirical test of the Marshall hypotheses

  • Bin LiangEmail author
  • Jianhong Liu
  • Hong Lu
Article

Abstract

Though empirical studies of the Marshall hypotheses are rich, few examined the hypotheses in non-US nations. Based on a sample of 1077 students and a quasi-experimental design, this study tests the Marshall hypotheses in China. Except the control group, three intervention essays (on ‘international trend’, ‘wrongful conviction’, and ‘deterrence’) were provided to three experimental groups and students’ opinions were surveyed afterwards on capital punishment overall and six specific capital offenses. The results showed that the majority of Chinese students favored capital punishment and the wrongful conviction essay helped significantly reduce students’ support in the overall death penalty opinion, consistent with the Marshall hypotheses. Nevertheless, the international trend and deterrence essays boosted students’ support when opinions on specific capital offenses were surveyed, producing a counter-effect. Consistent with the hypotheses, students with a retribution belief were more likely to favor capital punishment and less likely to be swayed by essay interventions.

Notes

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyOklahoma State University-TulsaTulsaUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyOklahoma State University–TulsaTulsaUSA
  3. 3.Department of SociologyUniversity of MacauMacauChina
  4. 4.Department of Criminal JusticeUniversity of Nevada-Las VegasLas VegasUSA

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