nep-law New Economics Papers
on Law and Economics
Issue of 2015‒07‒18
eight papers chosen by
Eve-Angeline Lambert, Université de Lorraine

  1. A Theory of Civil Disobedience By Edward L. Glaeser; Cass R. Sunstein
  2. Deterrence effects under Twombly: on the costs of increasing pleading standards in litigation By Campos, Sergio; Cotton, Christopher; Li, Cheng
  3. A Panel Data Analysis of the Effects of Constitutional Environmental Rights Provisions on Access to Improved Sanitation Facilities and Water Sources By Christopher Jeffords
  4. The Robber Wants To Be Punished By Uri Weiss
  5. Compliance with Endogenous Audit Probabilities By Kai A. Konrad; Tim Lohse; Salmai Qari
  6. Common Law Marriage and Teen Births By Grossbard, Shoshana; Vernon, Victoria
  7. Filling the legal void? Experimental evidence from a community-based legal aid program for gender-equal land rights in Tanzania: By Mueller, Valerie; Billings, Lucy; Mogues, Tewodaj; Peterman, Amber; Wineman, Ayala
  8. The Economics of Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation By Jakobsson, Niklas; Kotsadam, Andreas

  1. By: Edward L. Glaeser; Cass R. Sunstein
    Abstract: From the streets of Hong Kong to Ferguson, Missouri, civil disobedience has again become newsworthy. What explains the prevalence and extremity of acts of civil disobedience?This paper presents a model in which protest planners choose the nature of the disturbance hoping to influence voters (or other decision-makers in less democratic regimes) both through the size of the unrest and by generating a response. The model suggests that protesters will either choose a mild “epsilon” protest, such as a peaceful march, which serves mainly to signal the size of the disgruntled population, or a “sweet spot” protest, which is painful enough to generate a response but not painful enough so that an aggressive response is universally applauded. Since non-epsilon protests serve primarily to signal the leaders’ type, they will occur either when protesters have private information about the leader’s type or when the distribution of voters’ preferences are convex in a way that leads the revelation of uncertainty to increase the probability of regime change. The requirements needed for rational civil disobedience seem not to hold in many world settings, and so we explore ways in which bounded rationality by protesters, voters, and incumbent leaders can also explain civil disobedience.
    JEL: K0 P16 R28
    Date: 2015–07
  2. By: Campos, Sergio; Cotton, Christopher; Li, Cheng
    Abstract: We develop a stylized game theoretic model of litigant behavior to study the effects of increased pleading standards on incentives to engage in illegal activity. Such a model is necessary to build intuition about the potential costs associated with the procedures set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly (550 U.S. 544 [2007]) and Ashcroft v. Iqbal (556 U.S. 662, 684 [2009]), which increase the standard of plausibility that lawsuits must meet before being allowed by a judge to proceed to discovery and trial. We show how increasing pleading standards tends to increase illegal activity, and can increase litigation costs. These negative effects should be accounted for when setting a pleading standard. Our results provide a counterpoint to the U.S. Supreme Court’s argument that increased plausibility requirements will decrease the costs of litigation.
    Keywords: Judicial procedure, pleading, litigation, deterrence
    JEL: C72 K41
    Date: 2015–05
  3. By: Christopher Jeffords (Indiana University of Pennsylvania)
    Abstract: Using novel panel data on constitutional environmental rights (CER) for 190 countries from 1990-2012, this paper questions if the presence/language of CER provisions provides increased access to improved sanitation facilities and drinking water sources. While implementing statutory laws/regulations derived from CER provisions is a dynamic process, the presence/language of CER provisions is temporally fixed. To capture these dynamics, the presence of a CER and a measure of its legal strength are interacted with its age as explanatory variables within a fixed effects framework yielding evidence of: (1) no association between the CER measures and access to improved sanitation facilities; (2) a positive statistically significant association between ageing CER provisions and access to improved water sources; and (3) a positive but weakly statistically significant association between the legal strength of ageing CER provisions and access to improved water sources, which is improved upon for countries with British vs. French legal origins.
    Keywords: Constitutional Law, Environmental Rights, Sanitation, Water, Legal Origins, Panel Data, Fixed Effects
    JEL: K10 K32 O13 Q50 Q56
    Date: 2015–06
  4. By: Uri Weiss
    Abstract: It is a commonly held intuition that increasing punishment leads to less crime. Let's move our glance from the punishment for the crime itself to the punishment for the attempt to commit a crime, or to the punishment for the threat to carry it out. We'll argue that the greater the punishment for the attempt to rob, i.e. for the threat, "give me your money or else…", the greater the number of robberies and attempts there will be. The punishment for the threat makes the withdrawal from it more expensive for the criminal, making the relative cost of committing the crime lower. In other words, the punishment of the attempt turns the attempt into a commitment by the robber, while at the same time turning an incredible threat into a credible one. Therefore, the robber has a strong interest in a legal system that increases the punishment of the attempt.
    Date: 2015–05
  5. By: Kai A. Konrad; Tim Lohse; Salmai Qari
    Abstract: This paper studies the effect of endogenous audit probabilities on reporting behavior in a face-to-face compliance situation such as at customs. In an experimental setting in which underreporting has a higher expected payoff than truthful reporting we find an increase in compliance of about 80% if subjects have reason to believe that their behavior towards an officer influences their endogenous audit probability. Higher compliance is driven by considerations about how own appearance and performance affect their audit probability, rather than by social and psychological effects of face-to-face contact.
    Keywords: Compliance, audit probability, tax evasion, face value, customs
    JEL: H26 H31 C91 K42
    Date: 2015
  6. By: Grossbard, Shoshana (San Diego State University); Vernon, Victoria (Empire State College)
    Abstract: Using microdata from Current Population Survey Fertility supplements 1990-2010 we examine whether Common Law Marriage (CLM) laws in the US affect teen birth rates. CLM effects are identified through cross-state and time variation, as four states repealed the law over the period of study. We find that in the states where CLM laws were first available but then repealed the odds that teens would become new mothers increased, with a larger increase among young black teens. When we include dummies for CLM at various times around the timing of the repeal, it turns out that the likelihood of becoming a mother is most affected by availability of CLM between 1 and 4 years prior to the repeal. There is a small negative effect of CLM on older women becoming mothers. To the extent that they reduce teen births CLM laws are socially desirable and worthy of further study.
    Keywords: fertility, Common-Law marriage, teens
    JEL: J12 J13 K36
    Date: 2015–07
  7. By: Mueller, Valerie; Billings, Lucy; Mogues, Tewodaj; Peterman, Amber; Wineman, Ayala
    Abstract: Gender disparities continue to exist in women’s control, inheritance, and ownership of land in spite of legislation directing improvements in women’s land access. Women are often excluded from traditional patrilineal inheritance systems, often lack the legal know-how or enforcement mechanisms to ensure their property rights are maintained, and often lack initial capital or asset bases to purchase land through market mechanisms. Community-based legal aid programs have been promoted as one way to expand access to justice for marginalized populations, through provision of free legal aid and education. Despite promising programmatic experiences, few rigorous evaluations have studied their impacts in developing countries. We evaluate the effect of a one-year community-based legal aid program in the Kagera Region of northwestern Tanzania using a randomized controlled trial design with specific attention to gender. We measure impacts of access to legal aid on a range of land-related knowledge, attitude, and practice outcomes using individual questionnaires administered to male and female household members separately. Effects were limited in the short term to settings with minimal transaction costs to the paralegal. Treatment women in smaller villages attend legal seminars and are more knowledgeable and positive regarding their legal access to land. Cost-effectiveness analysis shows that the costs of bringing about these changes are moderate. The difference between the impact of the intervention on men and on women is narrowed when taking into account the gender-differentiated paralegal effort, and thus costs, allocated to women and men.
    Keywords: Land rights, Land ownership, Gender, Women, assets, Community organizations, inheritance of property, legal aid,
    Date: 2015
  8. By: Jakobsson, Niklas (Norwegian Social Research and Karlstad University,); Kotsadam, Andreas (Dept. of Economics, University of Oslo)
    Abstract: International human trafficking of women for commercial sexual exploitation (henceforth trafficking) is an economic activity in which organizations try to make profits. Trafficking has been identified as a form of modern-day slavery and is a worldwide problem which has grown rapidly in the last decades. Despite this, the economics literature on trafficking is small, which is somewhat surprising given that the economics of immigration as well as the economics of crime are both large areas of research. We review the existing economics literature on trafficking with a particular focus on the gaps in this literature. We also describe the datasets that have been and can be used in studying trafficking and we point to future areas of research. We believe that economists have a lot to contribute to the knowledge of the determinants of trafficking and, as more and improved data becomes readily available, the possibilities for credible quantitative research in this area will grow.
    Keywords: Law and economics; Prostitution; Sexual exploitation; Sex slavery; Trafficking
    JEL: F22 J16 K14 O15
    Date: 2015–03–11

This nep-law issue is ©2015 by Eve-Angeline Lambert. 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.