nep-law New Economics Papers
on Law and Economics
Issue of 2016‒08‒21
nine papers chosen by
Eve-Angeline Lambert, Université de Lorraine

  1. The Effects of Pre-Trial Detention on Conviction, Future Crime, and Employment: Evidence from Randomly Assigned Judges By Will Dobbie; Jacob Goldin; Crystal Yang
  2. Is it Displacement? Evidence on the Impact of Police Monitoring on Crime By Ignacio Munyo; Martín Rossi
  3. Pollution or Crime: The Effect of Driving Restrictions on Criminal Activity By Paul Carrillo; Andrea López; Arun Malik
  4. Does Longer Incarceration Deter or Incapacitate Crimes? New Evidence from Truth-in-Sentencing Reform By Wei Long
  5. Fighting Software Piracy: Some Global Conditional Policy Instruments By Asongu, Simplice A; Singh, Pritam; Le Roux, Sara
  6. US Child Safety Seat Laws: Are they Effective, and Who Complies? By Lauren E. Jones; Nicolas Ziebarth
  7. Communication in vertical markets: Experimental evidence By Möllers, Claudia; Normann, Hans-Theo; Snyder, Christopher M.
  8. Are Automated Vehicles Coming at the Right Speed? By Donald N. Dewees
  9. Secret ballots and costly information gathering: the jury size problem revisited By Guha, Brishti

  1. By: Will Dobbie; Jacob Goldin; Crystal Yang
    Abstract: Over 20 percent of prison and jail inmates in the United States are currently awaiting trial, but little is known about the impact of pre-trial detention on defendants. This paper uses the detention tendencies of quasi-randomly assigned bail judges to estimate the causal effects of pre-trial detention on subsequent defendant outcomes. Using data from administrative court and tax records, we find that being detained before trial significantly increases the probability of a conviction, primarily through an increase in guilty pleas. Pre-trial detention has no detectable effect on future crime, but decreases pre-trial crime and failures to appear in court. We also find suggestive evidence that pre-trial detention decreases formal sector employment and the receipt of employment- and tax-related government benefits. We argue that these results are consistent with (i) pre-trial detention weakening defendants' bargaining position during plea negotiations, and (ii) a criminal conviction lowering defendants' prospects in the formal labor market.
    JEL: J24 J70 K14 K42
    Date: 2016–08
  2. By: Ignacio Munyo (Universidad de Montevideo); Martín Rossi (Department of Economics, Universidad de San Andres)
    Abstract: We exploit detailed information on location and exact date of installation of police-monitored surveillance cameras coupled with daily data at the street-segment level on all reported crimes in the city of Montevideo, Uruguay, to study the impact of police monitoring on crime. The introduction of police-monitored surveillance cameras reduces crime by 28 percent in monitored areas relative to un-monitored areas of the city. Results are robust to alternative definitions of the control group. A series of placebo experiments reassure that the findings have a causal interpretation. We find evidence that the reduction in crime in police monitored areas of the city is compensated by an increase in crime in other areas of the city.
    Keywords: monitoring cameras, theft, robbery, domestic violence
    JEL: K42
    Date: 2016–08
  3. By: Paul Carrillo; Andrea López; Arun Malik
    Abstract: Driving restriction programs have been implemented in many cities around the world to alleviate pollution and congestion problems. Enforcement of such programs is costly and can potentially displace policing resources used for crime prevention and crime detection. Hence, driving restrictions may increase crime. To test this hypothesis, this paper exploits both temporal and spatial variation in the implementation of Quito, Ecuador's Pico y Placa program and evaluates its effect on crime. Both difference-in-difference and spatial regression discontinuity estimates provide credible evidence that driving restrictions can increase crime rates.
    Keywords: Crime Rate, Criminal Activities, Pollution prevention, Public transport, Road Traffic Control, Crime Prevention, Citizen security, Police Officers, policing resources, criminal activity, pollution prevention, air pollution
    JEL: C20 Q52 R28 R48
    Date: 2016–07
  4. By: Wei Long (Department of Economics, Tulane University)
    Abstract: This paper estimates how violent crimes respond to a policy change which requires violent offenders to serve a substantial propertion of their sentenced terms before being eligible to release to commu- nity supervision. Focusing on states with effective TIS laws which meet the federal 85 percent rule, we utilize the differences-in-differences design to investigate both deterrent and incapacitative effect of TIS on crimes. We observe statistically significant -7 percent deterrent effect of TIS on growth of violent crime two years after its passage. A series of placebo tests confirm the robustness of the estimates and inferences. In the long-run, additional incapacitative effect also becomes significant, making the treatment effect of TIS even greater in magnitude. Even though insignificant in the first two years after TIS was passed, growth of non-violent property crime rates decreases by 7 percent in the long-run in TIS states, indicating relative greater importance of incapacitative effect which locks up offenders who commit both types of crimes. A rough approximation shows that TIS is an economically efficient method to decrease crimes.
    Keywords: Deterrence, incapacitation, Truth-in-Sentencing, violent crime rates.
    JEL: I18 J18 K49
    Date: 2016–08
  5. By: Asongu, Simplice A; Singh, Pritam; Le Roux, Sara
    Abstract: This study examines the efficiency of tools for fighting software piracy in the conditional distributions of software piracy. Our paper examines software piracy in 99 countries for the period 1994-2010, using contemporary and non-contemporary quantile regressions. The intuition for modelling distributions contingent on existing levels of software piracy is that the effectiveness of tools against piracy may consistently decrease or increase simultaneously with increasing levels of software piracy. Hence, blanket policies against software piracy are unlikely to succeed unless they are contingent on initial levels of software piracy and tailored differently across countries with low, medium and high levels of software piracy. Our findings indicate that GDP per capita, research and development expenditure, main intellectual property laws, multilateral treaties, bilateral treaties, World Intellectual Property Organisation treaties, money supply and respect of the rule of law have negative effects on software piracy. Equitably distributed wealth reduces software piracy, and the tendency not to indulge in software piracy because of equitably distributed wealth increases with increasing software piracy levels. Hence, the negative degree of responsiveness of software piracy to changes in income levels is an increasing function of software piracy. Moreover the relationships between policy instruments and software piracy display various patterns, namely: U-shape, Kuznets-shape, S-shape and negative thresholds. A negative threshold represents negative estimates with increasing negative magnitude throughout the conditional distributions of software piracy. We also discuss the policy implications of our study.
    Keywords: Intellectual property rights; Panel data; Software piracy
    JEL: F42 K42 O34 O38 O57
    Date: 2016–02
  6. By: Lauren E. Jones (Ohio State University, Department of Human Sciences); Nicolas Ziebarth (Cornell University)
    Abstract: This paper assesses the effectiveness of child safety seat laws. These laws progressively increased the mandatory age up to which children must be restrained in safety seats in cars. We use US Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data from 1978 to 2011 and rich state- time level variation in the implementation of these child safety seat laws for children of different ages. Increasing legal age thresholds is effective in increasing the actual age of child safety seat use. Across the child age distribution, restraint rates increase by about 30ppt in the long-run when the legal minimum age increases. However, we cannot reject the null hypothesis that restraining older children in safety seats does not reduce their likelihood to die in fatal accidents. We estimate that parents of 8.6M young children are “legal compliers.†They compose an important target group for policymakers because these parents alter their parenting behavior when laws change.
    Keywords: Child safety seats, age requirements, fatalities, FARS
    JEL: I18 K32 R41
    Date: 2016–03
  7. By: Möllers, Claudia; Normann, Hans-Theo; Snyder, Christopher M.
    Abstract: When an upstream monopolist supplies several competing downstreamfirms, it may fail to monopolize the market because it is unable to commit not to behave opportunistically. We build on previous experimental studies of this well-known commitment problem by introducing communication. Allowing the upstream firm to chat privately with each downstream firm reduces total offered quantity from near the Cournot level (observed in the absence of communication) halfway toward the monopoly level. Allowing all three firms to chat together openly results in complete monopolization. Downstream firms obtain such a bargaining advantage from open communication that all of the gains from monopolizing the market accrue to them. A simple structural model of Nash-in-Nash bargaining fits the pattern of shifting surpluses well. Using third-party coders, unsupervised text mining, among other approaches, we uncover features of the rich chat data that are correlated with market outcomes. We conclude with a discussion of the antitrust implications of open communication in vertical markets.
    Keywords: commitment,communication,experiments,vertical restraints
    JEL: L42 K21 C90 C70
    Date: 2016
  8. By: Donald N. Dewees
    Abstract: Recent press reports have celebrated the development of automated or ‘self-driving’ cars and the benefits they would bring, yet actual benefits may fall far short of this potential. Drivers are exposed to only a fraction of the costs of accidents that they cause, they may underestimate the risks of accidents, and automated features may work in only a fraction of all driving situations. Studies have found that some drivers respond to safety devices by driving more ‘intensely,’ and some drivers refuse to accept even proven occupant protection devices such as seat belts. More drivers will resist the purchase and utilization of automated vehicle features that change their driving behaviour, especially if this reduces the speed or enjoyment of their driving. This paper analyzes the likely response of drivers to automated safety features. It suggests that benefits will be much less than forecast and will mostly occur a decade or two in the future because of driver behaviour and our likely reluctance to force drivers to submit to automated control in most driving situations. The shortfall in benefits will depend in part on the details of motor vehicle insurance policies and on public policies adopted by state, provincial and federal governments. There is an economic argument for policy encouragement of cost-effective accident-avoidance features but not for features that save time for the driver.
    Keywords: autonomous vehicles, automobile accident avoidance, driving intensity, auto insurance risk-rating, moral hazard
    JEL: K13 R41
    Date: 2016–08–05
  9. By: Guha, Brishti
    Abstract: Suppose paying attention during jury trials is costly, but that jurors do not pool information (as in contemporary Brazil, or ancient Athens). If inattentive jurors are as likely to be wrong as right, I find that small jury panels work better as long as identical jurors behave symmetrically. If not paying attention makes error more likely than not, jurors may co-ordinate on two different symmetric outcomes: a “high-attention” one or a “low attention” one. If social norms stigmatize shirking, jurors co-ordinate on the high-attention equilibrium, and a smaller jury yields better outcomes. However, increasing the jury up to a finite bound works better if norms are tolerant of shirking, in which case co-ordination on the low-attention outcome results. If the cost of attention is high, a bare majority of jurors pay attention, and efficiency increases in jury size up to a bound. The model also applies to elections and referendums.
    Keywords: Jury size, pivotal voters, secret ballots, multiple equilibria, costly information.
    JEL: D72 D82 K40
    Date: 2016–08–12

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