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(In)equality before the law?: An analysis of the role of gender in sentencing in cases concerning welfare fraud tried in the Norwegian Court of Appeal
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Law.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The fight against welfare fraud currently sees an increased focus from Norwegian authorities. This attention is connected to the narratives of real and perceived threats to the welfare state, where welfare fraud not only implies the misappropriation of government funds but may also be detrimental to the public’s support of the welfare state. This paper investigates the relationship between gender and sentencing in cases concerning welfare fraud tried in the Norwegian Court of Appeal (Lagmannsretten). Based on the literature on gender bias in sentencing, particularly from an American perspective, the main hypothesis proposed was that women received more lenient sentences than men. The secondary hypotheses proposed that aggravating and mitigating circumstances would correlate with the type of punishment being awarded, i.e. custodial, probation and community sentence. Further, mitigating circumstances would have a positive correlation with probation and community sentence, while aggravating circumstances would have a negative correlation on the same punishment categories. Finally, these correlations would correlate stronger in a positive direction for females, and stronger in a negative direction for males.SPSS was used to conduct descriptive and regression analyses on a data material which was organized in MS Excel. The data was collected through the online source Lovdata.no.Drawing on the research of Daly, 1989; Bickle & Peterson, 1991; Williams, 1999; Spohn & Holleran, 2002; Doerner & Demuth, 2012; Embry & Lyons, 2012; and Bontrager & Stupi, 2013, especially that of ”courtroom paternalism”, the findings of the thesis echoes that of previous work on the the field of gender bias in sentencing. The results showed a correlation between gender and type of punishment: females had a proportionately higher frequency of probation and community sentence than that of males. When taking into account aggravating and mitigating circumstances, strong correlations where identified between females and community sentence, and moderate so with probation and females. With regards to custodial, few differences between the sexes were found. However, one would benefit from further research into the aggravating and mitigating circumstances, for instance by conducting interviews.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
National Category
Law Law and Society
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-155170OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-155170DiVA, id: diva2:1276897
Educational program
Master's Programme in Law, Gender and Society
Examiners
Available from: 2019-01-09 Created: 2019-01-09 Last updated: 2019-01-09Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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  • de-DE
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  • en-US
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  • nn-NB
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  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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