Is Your Lawyer a Lemon? Incentives and Selection in the Public Provision of Criminal Defense
Matthew Freedman and
Emily Owens ()
No 24579, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc
Governments in the U.S. must offer free legal services to low-income people accused of crimes. These services are frequently provided by assigned counsel, who handle cases for indigent defendants on a contract basis. Court-assigned attorneys generally garner worse case outcomes than privately retained attorneys. Using detailed court records from one large jurisdiction in Texas, we find that the disparities in outcomes are primarily attributable to case characteristics and within-attorney differences across cases in which they are assigned versus retained. The selection of low-quality lawyers into assigned counsel and endogenous matching in the private market contribute less to the disparities.
JEL-codes: H44 H76 J15 J38 K14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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Published as Amanda Agan & Matthew Freedman & Emily Owens, 2021. "Is Your Lawyer a Lemon? Incentives and Selection in the Public Provision of Criminal Defense," The Review of Economics and Statistics, vol 103(2), pages 294-309.
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Journal Article: Is Your Lawyer a Lemon? Incentives and Selection in the Public Provision of Criminal Defense (2021)
Working Paper: Is Your Lawyer a Lemon? Incentives and Selection in the Public Provision of Criminal Defense (2017)
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