well, that is definitely a tough question! i think that a lot of things have to be factored in, and I think that it shouldn't be as straightforward as always yes or always no. Spanking is a really loaded issue lately, and I have quite a few feelings on the subject.
I got spanked-quite a bit- growing up. I swore I wasn't going to be that hard on my kids; however, once the little darlings came to be, and bad behavior was beginning, my thoughts changed-and then changed again.
we spanked every so often when our boys were littler, and it never seemed to do anyone any good-misbehave, get a spanking, done. We found that we didn't like our boys flinching every time they got into trouble and we went near them, so,....we changed tactics and went to timeouts in their beds(toys are in the basement, but not stuffed animals); this worked for awhile, until we realized that they would fall asleep, and then wake up, come downstairs, and act as if nothing had happened-and mainly forgot why they were there in the first place!
we now rely on a few different things, and spanking DOES come into play-occasionally. spanking is now only done when hitting mom or dad occurs or when screaming at mom or dad occurs-the rest of the time, thus far, we dole out punishments that try to fit the crime.
short answer? spanking, when used sparingly, can be a useful tool, but I refer trying to match the crime and punishment.