Defending the Undefendable and the Death Penalty for Murder

From: Alex Popovic

Sent: Monday, December 21, 2020 12:10 PM

To: Walter Block <>

Subject: Death Penalty

Dear  Walter Block,

I was watching one of your lectures from MisesU 2016. It was the lecture on your book defending the undefendable. It was a great lecture, I quite enjoyed it and I plan on purchasing your book defending the undefendable 1 and 2, also 3 whenever that releases if it is still coming out. I wanted to ask you for the link to the study you mentioned when you were talking about the death penalty and the correlations between death penalty states vs execution states in terms of the utilitarian discussion on the death penalty.



Dear Alex:

Thanks for your kind words.

Here ’tis:

Becker, 1995; Block, 2003; Ehrlich, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975A, 1975B, 1976A, 1976B, 1977A, 1977B, 1977C, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982;  Ehrlich and Gibbons, 1977; Ehrlich and Posner, 1974; Rothbard, 2010; Whitehead, and Block. 2003;

Becker, Gary S. 1995. “The economics of crime,” Cross Sections, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, vol. 12(Fall), pages 8-15.

Block, Walter E. 2003. “Death Penalty Essential for Social Justice.” Loyola University New Orleans Loyola University New Orleans The Maroon; October 10;

Ehrlich, Isaac. 1972. “The Deterrent Effect of Criminal Law Enforcement,” Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. L (2), June, pp. 259-276.

Ehrlich, Isaac. 1973. “Participation in Illegitimate Activities — A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation,” Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 81 (3), May/June, pp. 521-565.

Ehrlich, Isaac. 1974. “Participation in Illegitimate Activities — An Economic Analysis,” in The Economics of Crime and Punishment, Becker and Landes, eds., Columbia University Press, New York, pp. 68-134.

Ehrlich, Isaac. 1975A. “On the Relation Between Education and Crime,: in Education, Income, and Human Behavior, F.T. Juster, ed., Mcgraw-Hill Co., New York, pp. 313-338.

Ehrlich, Isaac. 1975B. “The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment — A Question of Life and Death,” American Economic Review, Vol. 65 (3), June, pp. 397-417

Ehrlich, Isaac. 1976A. “Deterrence: Evidence and Inference,” Yale Law Journal, Vol. 85 (2), December, pp. 209-227.

Ehrlich, Isaac. 1976B. “Rejoinder,” Yale Law Journal, Vol. 85 (3), January.

Ehrlich, Isaac. 1977A. “Fear of Deterrence — A Critical Evaluation of the Report of the Panel on Research on Deterrent and Incapacitative Effects,” Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 6 (2), June.

Ehrlich, Isaac. 1977B. “Capital Punishment and Deterrence: Some Further Thoughts and Additional Evidence,” Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 85 (4), August, pp. 74l-788

Ehrlich, Isaac. 1977C. “The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: Reply,” American Economic Review, Vol. 67 (3), June, pp. 452-458.

Ehrlich, Isaac. 1978. “Deterrence and Economics: A Perspective on Theory and Evidence,” in Major Social Issues: A Multidisciplinary View, Milton Yinger and Stephen Cutler, eds., The Free Press.

Ehrlich, Isaac. 1979.  “The Economic Approach to Crime – A Preliminary Assessment,” in Criminology, Review Yearbook Vol. l, Messinger and Bittner, eds., Sage: Beverly Hills.

Ehrlich, Isaac. 1981. “On the Usefulness of Controlling Individuals: An Economic Analysis of Rehabilitation, Incapacitation, and Deterrence,” American Economic Review, Vol. 71 (3), June, pp. 307-22.

Ehrlich, Isaac. 1982. “The Market for Offenses and the Public Enforcement of Laws: An Equilibrium Analysis,” British Journal of Social Psychology, Vol. 21, pp. 107-20.

Ehrlich, Isaac and J.C. Gibbons. 1977.  “On the measurement of the Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment and the Theory of Deterrence,” Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 6 (l), January, pp. 35-50.

Ehrlich, Isaac and Richard A. Posner. 1974. “An Economic Analysis of Legal Rulemaking,” Journal of, Legal Studies, Vol. 3 (l), January, pp. 257-80.

Rothbard, Murray N. 2010. “The Libertarian Position on Capital Punishment.” July 13;

Whitehead, Roy and Walter E. Block. 2003. “Taking the assets of the criminal to compensate victims of violence: a legal and philosophical approach,” Wayne State University Law School Journal of Law in Society Vol. 5, No. 1, Fall, pp.229-254; (death penalty justified)

Best regards,



12:52 pm on April 22, 2021