2023 Paper Prize Winner

CSLS awarded its first annual graduate student paper prize in Spring 2022. The CSLS paper prize is awarded to a current Berkeley graduate student whose nominated paper best represents outstanding law and society research and addresses one or more of the Center’s areas of scholarly focus: criminal justice, democracy and civil society, or inequality. We had an outstanding pool of nominated papers for the prize, which comes with an award of $1,000.

The 2023 prize went to Dvir Yogev, a Ph.D. candidate in Jurisprudence and Social Policy, for his paper, Holding Justice Accountable: Intensive vs. Extensive Margins in Prosecutor Elections.

Abstract: American public opinion has shifted away from tough-on-crime policies, yet the conditions for supporting progressive reform on the ballot remain unclear. This study develops a theory of voting behavior in prosecutor elections. I utilize the recall of a progressive prosecutor to examine voters’ revealed preferences in a pivotal crime and justice politics setting. I show that the correct response to voters requires attention to legal reform’s intensive and extensive margins. Despite the media narratives, voters favor reforming the intensity of the criminal legal system; voters support reducing outcomes’ harshness but not limiting the scope of prosecuted behavior. This research also indicates that moral concerns drive support for decreasing the intensive margin, while opposition to changing the extensive margin is rooted in the desire to maintain deterrence. Politicians who intend to end Mass Incarceration should focus on reducing the criminal legal system’s intensive margin to gain political approval.