nep-law New Economics Papers
on Law and Economics
Issue of 2020‒02‒24
seven papers chosen by
Eve-Angeline Lambert, Université de Lorraine

  1. Professional Interactions and Hiring Decisions: Evidence from the Federal Judiciary By Marco Battaglini; Jorgen M. Harris; Eleonora Patacchini
  2. Can Sanctuary Polices Reduce Domestic Violence? By Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina; Deza, Monica
  3. Algorithmic Risk Assessment in the Hands of Humans By Stevenson, Megan T.; Doleac, Jennifer
  4. Affirmative Action and Intersectionality at the Top: Evidence from South Africa By Klasen, Stephan; Minasyan, Anna
  5. Alternative Solutions to the Odious Debt Problem By Mitu Gulati; Ugo Panizza
  6. Empowered or Impoverished: The Impact of Panic Buttons on Domestic Violence By Tumen, Semih; Ulucan, Hakan
  7. New evidence on teachers' working hours in England. An empirical analysis of four datasets By Rebecca Allen; Asma Benhenda; John Jerrim; Sam Sims

  1. By: Marco Battaglini; Jorgen M. Harris; Eleonora Patacchini
    Abstract: We examine the effect of hearing cases alongside female judicial colleagues on the probability that a federal judge hires a female law clerk. Federal judges are assigned to cases and to judicial panels at random and have few limitations on their choices of law clerks: these two features make the federal court system a unique environment in which to study the effect of professional interactions and beliefs in organizations. We constructed a unique dataset by aggregating federal case records from 2007-2017 to collect information on federal judicial panels, and by merging this data with judicial hiring information from the Judicial Yellow Book, a directory of federal judges and clerks. We find that a one standard deviation increase in the fraction of co-panelists who are female increases a judge’s likelihood of hiring a female clerk by 4 percentage points. This finding suggests that increases in the diversity of the upper rungs of a profession can shift attitudes in a way that creates opportunities at the entry level of a profession.
    JEL: J16 J71 J82
    Date: 2020–01
  2. By: Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina (University of California, Merced); Deza, Monica (University of Texas at Dallas)
    Abstract: Domestic violence remains a serious public problem, especially in Hispanic communities, where one in three women are victims of domestic violence in their lifetimes. Yet, less than 50 percent of Hispanic women report the incidents, indicating lack of confidence in the police and fear they might be asked about their immigration status or that of relatives and friends as two main motives for not reporting. We examine the extent to which the adoption of sanctuary policies, which limit the cooperation of local law enforcement with federal immigration authorities, affect domestic homicide rates – a crime rarely unreported. We find that sanctuary policies lower domestic homicide rates among Hispanic women, but have no effect on white-non Hispanic women or men. The impact is particularly large in counties with higher immigration enforcement and in those with more female officers. On the other hand, sanctuary policies are less effective in counties withmandated arrest laws in place. These findings are suggestive of the important role of policies that increase community trust in the police in curtailing domestic violence, whether it is by promoting the early reporting of incidents, inhibiting potential offenders or increasing women's economic independence.
    Keywords: domestic violence, sanctuary policies, domestic homicides, crime policy
    JEL: D1 I1 J1 K14
    Date: 2019–12
  3. By: Stevenson, Megan T. (George Mason University); Doleac, Jennifer (Texas A&M University)
    Abstract: We evaluate the impacts of adopting algorithmic predictions of future offending (risk assessments) as an aid to judicial discretion in felony sentencing. We find that judges' decisions are influenced by the risk score, leading to longer sentences for defendants with higher scores and shorter sentences for those with lower scores. However, we find no robust evidence that this reshuffling led to a decline in recidivism, and, over time, judges appeared to use the risk scores less. Risk assessment's failure to reduce recidivism is at least partially explained by judicial discretion in its use. Judges systematically grant leniency to young defendants, despite their high risk of reoffending. This is in line with a long standing practice of treating youth as a mitigator in sentencing, due to lower perceived culpability. Such a conflict in goals may have led prior studies to overestimate the extent to which judges make prediction errors. Since one of the most important inputs to the risk score is effectively off-limits, risk assessment's expected benefits are curtailed. We find no evidence that risk assessment affected racial disparities statewide, although there was a relative increase in sentences for black defendants in courts that appeared to use risk assessment most. We conduct simulations to evaluate how race and age disparities would have changed if judges had fully complied with the sentencing recommendations associated with the algorithm. Racial disparities might have increased slightly, but the largest change would have been higher relative incarceration rates for defendants under the age of 23. In the context of contentious public discussions about algorithms, our results highlight the importance of thinking about how man and machine interact.
    Keywords: crime, risk assessment, prediction, algorithms, courts
    JEL: K4
    Date: 2019–12
  4. By: Klasen, Stephan; Minasyan, Anna
    Abstract: Gender-based board quotas do not always lead to higher share of women in top management positions. We study the consequences of an affirmative action policy that stipulates gender- and race-based targets in top management positions, beyond boards. We focus on the representation of intersectional group identities, such as race and gender, at the top. We find sizable increase in the likelihood of Black women employment in top positions in the post-policy period relative to Black men, White women and White men in South Africa. We extend our analysis and estimate policy spillovers for years of schooling, earnings gaps and self-employment.
    Keywords: affirmative action,top,employment,race,gender,South Africa
    JEL: H41 J18 J21 J71 K31
    Date: 2020
  5. By: Mitu Gulati (Duke Law School); Ugo Panizza (IHEID, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva)
    Abstract: The doctrine of state succession requires that governments honor the international commitments of their predecessors. Even if a dictator borrows to oppress his own citizens, future generations are required to service the debts and commitments contracted by the dictator. This paper starts by briefly describing possible exceptions to this doctrine by focusing on war and hostile debts. Next, the paper reviews the literature on odious debt and discusses two proposals that could address this issue by using domestic legal principles.
    Keywords: Odious Debt; Sovereign Default; Sovereign Debt
    JEL: G15 H63 K34 O54
    Date: 2020–02–17
  6. By: Tumen, Semih (TED University); Ulucan, Hakan (Pamukkale University)
    Abstract: This paper estimates the causal effect of a targeted panic button program–implemented in two Turkish provinces between 2012 and 2016–on domestic violence against women. Diff-in-diff and synthetic control estimates suggest that the program notably increased physical domestic violence against women both at the extensive and intensive margins. Specifically, we find that the likelihood of physical domestic violence against women in the treated provinces increased by more than 5 percentage points relative to the control provinces, and the number of domestic physical violence incidents against women increased by around 10 percent. The increase comes almost entirely from the increase in violence against less-educated women with high fertility. We show that employment rates and economic independence indicators have improved for those women in the treated provinces, which suggests that the program have economically empowered and encouraged vulnerable women. However, partners/husbands of those women started using more physical violence in response to female empowerment. Our results are consistent with the "male backlash" theories and a class of non-cooperative models incorporating domestic violence as a vehicle/instrument for enhancing bargaining power, but inconsistent with the models predicting that economic empowerment of women reduces domestic violence against them by balancing bargaining power within the household. We also develop a method to understand whether the increase is attributable to actual or self-reported violence. We conclude that the estimates are entirely driven by the increase in actual rather than self-reported violence.
    Keywords: female empowerment, male backlash, panic button, domestic violence, bargaining
    JEL: J12 J16 K36
    Date: 2019–12
  7. By: Rebecca Allen (Teacher Tapp); Asma Benhenda (Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities, UCL Institute of Education, University College London); John Jerrim (Department of Social Science, UCL Institute of Education, University College London); Sam Sims (Centre for Education Policy and Equaliising Opportunities, UCL Institute of Education, University College London)
    Abstract: Surveys have revealed that teachers in England work far longer hours than their international counterparts, causing serious concern amongst both policymakers and the profession. Indeed, consecutive Secretaries of State for Education have now implemented policies aimed at reducing the number of hours teachers spend at work. Despite this, surprisingly little is known about the structure of and changes to teachers' working hours. We address this gap in the evidence base by analysing four different datasets, providing the most comprehensive assessment of teachers' working hours to date. Working hours remain high: a quarter of teachers work more than 60 hours per week during term time, 40% report that they usually work in the evening and around 10% during the weekend. However, contrary to current narratives, we do not find evidence that average working hours have increased. Indeed, we find no notable change in total hours worked over the last twenty years, no notable change in the incidence of work during evenings and weekends over a fifteen year period and no notable change in time spent on specific tasks over the last five years. The results suggests that policy initiatives have so far failed to reduce teachers' working hours and that more radical action may need to be taken in order to fix this problem. The article concludes with a discussion of how official data on working hours could be improved.
    Keywords: Teachers, workload, working hours, measurement error
    Date: 2020–01

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