New Economics Papers
on Law and Economics
Issue of 2008‒09‒05
six papers chosen by
Jeong-Joon Lee, Towson University

  1. Predicting market power in wholesale electricity markets By Newbery, D.
  3. Affirmative Action in Law School Admissions: What Do Racial Preferences Do? By Jesse Rothstein; Albert H. Yoon
  4. Criminal Sentencing in Nineteenth Century Pennsylvania By Howard Bodenhorn
  5. "Might Not Be a Tomorrow": A Multi-Methods Approach to Anticipated Early Death and Youth Crime By Timothy Brezina; Erdal Tekin; Volkan Topalli
  6. Mismatch in Law School By Jesse Rothstein; Albert Yoon

  1. By: Newbery, D.
    Abstract: The traditional measure of market power is the HHI, which gives implausible results given the low elasticity of demand in electricity spot markets, unless it is adapted to take account of contracting. In its place the Residual Supply Index has been proposed as a more suitable index to measure potential market power in electricity markets, notably in California and more recently in the EU Sector Inquiry. The paper investigates its value in identifying the ability of firms to raise prices in an electricity market with contracts and capacity constraints and find that it is most useful for the case of a single dominant supplier, or with a natural extension, for the case of a symmetric oligoply. Estimates from the Sector Inquiry seem to fit this case better than might be expected, but suggests an alternative defintion of the RSI defined over flexible output that should give a more reliable relationship.
    Keywords: Residual Supply Index, Cournot equilibrium, Lerner Index, electricity markets, market power
    JEL: D43 K21 L94
    Date: 2008–08
  2. By: yamamura, eiji
    Abstract: This paper attempts to analyze the results of Japan’s new bar examination, so far held in 2006 and 2007, and to investigate why the new bar examination had unanticipated outcomes. The major findings from regression analysis are: (1) The ratio of professor committee members affects the pass rate. Further, committee members specializing in the compulsory common subjects have a more significant effect than those specializing in the selective subject areas. (2) The high pass rate for prestigious national law schools is mainly to the result of the high ratio of professor committee members, while the pass rate of private law schools is partly related. (3) Ratios of committee members from prestigious law schools at 8-22% is significantly higher than for non prestigious law schools. The unexpected outcomes that stem from the shortcomings of the new bar examination are in line with concept that high-powered incentive schemes are likely to induce behavior distortions (Jacob and Levitt, 2003). To prevent professorial cheating and to achieve fairness in the new bar examination, the Ministry of Justice should at least take steps not to appoint law schools professors as committee members.
    Keywords: Competitive pressure; Japanese bar examination
    JEL: K40 K23 I23 I28
    Date: 2008–05–08
  3. By: Jesse Rothstein; Albert H. Yoon
    Abstract: The Supreme Court has held repeatedly that race-based preferences in public university admissions are constitutional. But debates over the wisdom of affirmative action continue. Opponents of these policies argue that preferences are detrimental to minority students -- that by placing these students in environments that are too competitive, affirmative action hurts their academic and career outcomes. This article examines the so-called "mismatch" hypothesis in the context of law school admissions. We discuss the existing scholarship on mismatch, identifying methodological limitations of earlier attempts to measure the effects of affirmative action. Using a simpler, more robust analytical strategy, we find that the data are inconsistent with large mismatch effects, particularly with respect to employment outcomes. While moderate mismatch effects are possible, they are concentrated among the students with the weakest entering academic credentials. To put our estimates in context, we simulate admissions under race-blind rules. Eliminating affirmative action would dramatically reduce the number of black law students, particularly at the most selective schools. Many potentially successful black law students would be excluded, far more than the number who would be induced to pass the bar exam by the elimination of mismatch effects. Accordingly, we find that eliminating affirmative action would dramatically reduce the production of black lawyers.
    JEL: I2 J15 K30
    Date: 2008–08
  4. By: Howard Bodenhorn
    Abstract: How law is interpreted and enforced at a particular historical moment reflects contemporary social concerns and prejudices. This paper investigates the nature of criminal sentencing in mid-nineteenth-century Pennsylvania. It finds that extralegal factors, namely place of conviction and several personal characteristics, were important determinants of sentence length. The observed disparities in the mid-nineteenth century, however, are different than modern disparities. Instead of longer sentences, African Americans and recent immigrants tended to receive shorter sentences, whereas more affluent offenders received longer sentences. The results are consistent with other interpretations of the period as the "era of the common man."
    JEL: K14 K42 N41
    Date: 2008–08
  5. By: Timothy Brezina; Erdal Tekin; Volkan Topalli
    Abstract: A number of researchers point to the anticipation of early death, or a sense of "futurelessness," as a contributing factor to youth crime and violence. Young people who perceive a high probability of early death, it is argued, may have little reason to delay gratification for the promise of future benefits, as the future itself is discounted. Consequently, these young people tend to pursue high-risk behaviors associated with immediate rewards, including crime and violence. Although existing studies lend empirical support to these arguments and show a statistical relationship between anticipated early death and youth crime, this support remains tentative. Moreover, a number of questions remain regarding the interpretation of this relationship, the meanings that offenders attach to the prospect of early death, and the causal mechanisms that link anticipated early death to youth crime. In this paper, we address the limitations of previous studies using a multi-methods approach, involving the analyses of national survey data and in-depth interviews with active street offenders.
    JEL: K0 K42
    Date: 2008–08
  6. By: Jesse Rothstein; Albert Yoon
    Abstract: An important criticism of race-based higher education admission preferences is that they may hurt minority students who attend more selective schools than they would in the absence of such preferences. We categorize the non-experimental research designs available for the study of so-called "mismatch" effects and evaluate the likely biases in each. We select two comparisons and use them to examine mismatch effects in law school. We find no evidence of mismatch effects on any students' employment outcomes or on the graduation or bar passage rates of black students with moderate or strong entering credentials. What evidence there is for mismatch comes from less-qualified black students who typically attend second- or third-tier schools. Many of these students would not have been admitted to any law school without preferences, however, and the resulting sample selection prevents strong conclusions.
    JEL: I21 J15 K30
    Date: 2008–08

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