In the above-titled article to be published in the Journal of Law and Economics, Cheryl X. Long, economics professor at Colgate, and Richard T. Boylan, economics professor at Alabama, argue that the ability of a defendant to obtain a favorable plea bargain in a federal case is dependent in part on the salary offered in that locale to attorneys in private law firms. The higher the pay differential between what an AUSA makes in her current job compared to what she could make in a private firm in her locale, the more likely it is that she became an AUSA primarily to obtain some quick trial experience before entering a high-paying big firm job. Thus, such an AUSA is less likely to cut favorable plea deals so that more of her cases will go to trial.
A ex-law professor of mine said that his large Los Angeles law firm allowed its associates to work, for 6-weeks at full BigLaw pay, for the LA County DA's office. These associates would never take a plea bargain, since that would deny them the opportunity to try a case, which is why they took the 6-week leave.
(Hat tip: CrimLaw)