New Economics Papers
on Law and Economics
Issue of 2013‒06‒30
three papers chosen by
Jeong-Joon Lee, Towson University

  1. Ex-post Merger Evaluation in the UK Retail Market for Books By L. Aguzzoni; E. Argentesi; L. Ciari; T. Duso; M. Tognoni
  2. Down and Out in Italian Towns: Measuring the Impact of Economic Downturns on Crime By Carlo Menon; Guido de Blasio
  3. Legal tradition and quality of institutions : is colonization by french law countries distinctive ?. By Kirat, Thierry

  1. By: L. Aguzzoni; E. Argentesi; L. Ciari; T. Duso; M. Tognoni
    Abstract: This paper empirically evaluates the price effects of the merger of two major book retail chains in the UK: Waterstone’s and Ottakar’s. We employ differences-in-differences techniques and use a rich dataset containing monthly scanner data information on a sample of 200 books sold in 60 stores in 50 different local markets for a period of four years around the merger. Since retail mergers may have either local or national effects (or both) according to the level at which retail chains set prices, we undertake an ex-post assessment of the impact of the merger at both levels. At the local level, we compare the changes in the average price charged before and after the merger in the shops located in overlap areas –i.e. areas where both chains were present before the merger– and in non-overlap areas –i.e. areas where only one chain was present before the merger. At the national level, we employ two distinct control groups to evaluate the merger, namely the competitors and the top-selling titles. We find that the merger did not result in an increase in prices either at the local or at the national level. We also perform heterogeneous treatment effects estimations in order to assess whether the effect of the merger differs along various dimensions of heterogeneity that are present in our data.
    JEL: K21 L24 L44 D22 O32
    Date: 2013–06
  2. By: Carlo Menon; Guido de Blasio
    Abstract: The paper investigates the effect of local economic conditions on crime. The study focuses on Italy's local labor markets and analyzes the short-term response of crime to the severe slump of 2007-2009. It shows that the downturn led to a significant increase in economic-related offenses that do not require particular criminal skills or tools (namely, thefts); on the other hand, for offenses for which specific skills and criminal experience are essential (say, robberies) the impact of the crisis was negative. The results also suggest that: i) labor market institutions (i.e. wage supplementary schemes and pro-worker contractual arrangements) had a role in slowing down the effect of the economy on crime; ii) the link between the downturn and crime was weaker in areas where the presence of organized crime is relatively more intensive.
    Keywords: crime, economic crises, Italy
    JEL: K14 K42 E32
    Date: 2013–06
  3. By: Kirat, Thierry
    Abstract: La littérature récente soutient que les traditions juridiques des nations, telles que leur appartenance au monde du droit civil ou de common law, ne sont pas neutres en termes de performances économiques ou institutionnelles, en particulier en ce qui concerne les principales opportunités dans les pays en développement à sortir de la pauvreté. Nous présentons les résultats d’une exploitation exploratoire de la «base de données des profils institutionnels» fourni par la DGTPE (Ministère français de l’Economie et des Finances) et l’Agence française de développement (enquête 2009) et des données sur l’origine légale et d’autres variables de La Porta et al. Nous mettons en évidence les spécificités des pays en développement ayant hérité de la loi française (par rapport à celles du droit anglais). Une réflexion sur le pouvoir politique et l’Etat trouve un fort contraste entre le modèle idéal-typique de la loi française et les résultats empiriques. Ce contraste est conforme à l’état réel de la notion plutôt que dans les anciennes colonies françaises.
    Abstract: Recent literature argues that legal traditions of nations, i.e. their belonging to the world of common law or civil law, are not neutral in terms of economic or institutional performance, especially with regard to key opportunities in developing countries out of poverty. We present the results of an exploratory exploitation of the “institutional profiles database” provided by DGTPE (French Ministry of Economy and Finance) and French Development Agency (survey 2009) supplemented by data on legal origin and other variables from La Porta et al. We highlight specificities of developing countries having inherited the French law (relative to those of English law). A reflection on political power and the state finds a strong contrast between the ideal-typical model of French law and the empirical findings. This contrast is consistent with the notion rather than real state in the former French colonies.
    Keywords: Colonisation; Pays en voie de développement; Influence française; Droit;
    JEL: O52 F54 B52
    Date: 2013

This issue is ©2013 by Jeong-Joon Lee. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.