nep-law New Economics Papers
on Law and Economics
Issue of 2020‒11‒02
seventeen papers chosen by
Eve-Angeline Lambert, Université de Lorraine

  1. Anti-competitive and regulatory barriers in the United States labour market By Mikkel Hermansen
  2. Complementary bidding and the collusive arrangement: Evidence from an antitrust investigation By Clark, Robert; Coviello, Decio; de Leverano, Adriano
  3. Transactional fairness and unfair price discrimination in consumer markets By Bruce Lyons; Robert Sugden
  4. Crimes against Morality: Unintended Consequences of Criminalizing Sex Work By Cameron, Lisa A.; Seager, Jennifer; Shah, Manisha
  5. Rule of law and judicial independence By João Carlos Trindade
  6. A policy and legal Open Science framework: a proposal By Teresa Gomez-Diaz; Tomas Recio
  7. Designing an EU Intervention Standard for Digital Platforms By Peter Alexiadis; Alexandre de Streel
  8. A Précis on Intellectual Property Rights: Challenges and Prospects for Nigeria's Economy By Olasunkanmi Olusogo OLAGUNJU
  9. The Rise and Persistence of Illegal Crops: Evidence from a Naive Policy Announcement By Prem, Mounu; Vargas, Juan F.; Mejía, Daniel
  10. What If? Tinkering with the Counterfactual. A Comment on US-Washing Machines (Article 22.6-US) By Edward Balistreri; Petros C. Mavroidis; Thomas J. Prusa
  11. Bulgaria's economy 1989-2019: an open-ended story of structural changes By Ganev, Georgy
  12. Preventing the Bad from Getting Worse: The End of the World (Trade Organization) As We Know it? By Bernard M. Hoekman; Petros C. Mavroidis
  13. Internal digitalization and tax-efficient decision making By Klein, Daniel; Ludwig, Christopher A.; Nicolay, Katharina
  14. The Pursuit of Non-Trade Policy Objectives in EU Trade Policy By Ingo Borchert; Paola Conconi,; Mattia Di Ubaldo, and Cristina Herghelegiu
  15. From participants to citizens? Democratic voting rights and naturalization behavior By Slotwinski, Michaela; Stutzer, Alois; Bevelander, Pieter
  16. To AB or Not to AB? Dispute Settlement in WTO Reform By Bernard M. Hoekman; Petros C. Mavroidis
  17. Literature Review on Best Practices in Government-Funded Services Supporting the Resettlement and Integration of Government-Assisted Refugees By Ghada Abid

  1. By: Mikkel Hermansen
    Abstract: Occupational licensing and non-competition agreements are two important types of labour market regulation in the United States, both covering around one fifth of all workers. While some regulation is needed to protect safety and ensure quality of services, it also creates entry barriers and reduces competition with important costs for job mobility, earnings and productivity growth. Employment opportunities for low-skilled workers and disadvantaged groups tend to be particularly affected by these barriers. The States are mainly responsible for labour market regulation and the variation across States is similar to the variation in the European Union. Harmonising requirements and scaling back occupational licensing as well as restricting the use of non-competition covenants could help to circumvent the secular decline in dynamism. However, attempts to reform often face stiff opposition from associations of professionals. The federal government has limited influence, but can in some cases help by shifting the burden from workers to meet regulatory requirements onto States and employers to show that high and differing regulatory standards are needed.
    Keywords: entry restrictions, job mobility, labour market regulation, non-competition agreements, Occupational licensing
    JEL: E24 J41 J44 J61 J62 K20 K31 L51
    Date: 2020–10–21
  2. By: Clark, Robert; Coviello, Decio; de Leverano, Adriano
    Abstract: A number of recent papers have proposed that a pattern of isolated winning bids may be associated with collusion. In contrast, others have suggested that bid clustering, especially of the two lowest bids, is indicative of collusion. In this paper, we present evidence from an actual procurement cartel uncovered during an anticollusion investigation that reconciles these two points of view and shows that both patterns arise naturally together as part of a cartel arrangement featuring complementary bidding. Using a difference-in-difference approach, we compare the extent of winning-bid isolation and clustering of bids in Montreal's asphalt industry before and after the investigation to patterns over the same time span in Quebec City, whose asphalt industry has not been the subject of collusion allegations. Our findings provide causal evidence that the collusive arrangement featured both clustering and isolation. We use information from testimony of alleged participants in the cartels to explain how these two seemingly contradictory patterns can be harmonized.
    Keywords: Auction,Bidding ring,Collusion,Complementary bidding,Clustered bids,Missing bids,Public procurement
    JEL: L22 L74 D44 H57
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Bruce Lyons (Centre for Competition Policy and School of Economics, University of East Anglia); Robert Sugden (Centre for Competition Policy and School of Economics, University of East Anglia)
    Abstract: There is growing public concern about the ‘unfairness’ of many pricing practices that have become common in consumer, particularly digital, markets (e.g. auto-renewal at a high price, expensive default add-ons). Industrial and behavioural economists have developed theories that explain the conditions under which these practices are profitable for firms, and their implications for consumer welfare. We argue that there is a mismatch between the welfare economic principles on which this theoretical work is grounded and the normative perspective in which the pricing strategies in question are viewed as unfair. As a result, when regulators look to economics for guidance about fair pricing, they struggle to reconcile two fundamentally different normative approaches. We develop a concept of ‘transactional fairness’, grounded in the normative approach of Sugden’s ‘Community of Advantage’, that is reflective of public concerns. Transactional fairness requires satisfaction of ‘no deception’, ‘no hindrance’ and ‘public explanation’ criteria. It is complementary to established welfare criteria of economic efficiency and distributional equity, but is based entirely on the relationship between individual buyer and seller. Transactional fairness establishes clear principles with realistic information requirements that are appropriate for compliance by firms. The approach potentially helps restore public faith in markets without either deterring the emergence of (non-deceptive and non-hindering) business models, or requiring frequent ad hoc fire-fighting interventions by regulators.
    Keywords: Price discrimination, unfair pricing, consumer law, competition policy
    JEL: D61 D63 K21 K23 L40 L51
    Date: 2020–10–01
  4. By: Cameron, Lisa A. (University of Melbourne); Seager, Jennifer (George Washington University); Shah, Manisha (University of California, Los Angeles)
    Abstract: We examine the impact of criminalizing sex work, exploiting an event in which local officials unexpectedly criminalized sex work in one district in East Java, Indonesia, but not in neighboring districts. We collect data from female sex workers and their clients before and after the change. We find that criminalization increases sexually transmitted infections among female sex workers by 58 percent, measured by biological tests. This is driven by decreased condom access and use. We also find evidence that criminalization decreases earnings among women who left sex work due to criminalization, and decreases their ability to meet their children’s school expenses while increasing the likelihood that children begin working to supplement household income. While criminalization has the potential to improve population STI outcomes if the market shrinks permanently, we show that five years post-criminalization the market has rebounded and the probability of STI transmission within the general population is likely to have increased.
    Keywords: sex work, criminalization, sexually-transmitted infections, Indonesia
    JEL: I18 K42 J16
    Date: 2020–10
  5. By: João Carlos Trindade
    Abstract: The rule of law and judicial independence are a project yet to be achieved in Mozambique. The different attempts made so far to reform the legal system, mainly after the change in political and strategic direction brought about by the Constitution of 1990, were always short-sighted and conjunctural in nature, under domestic and foreign pressure that was not always clear or well-intentioned.
    Keywords: Economic development, Rule of law, judicial independence, Mozambique, judicial reform
    Date: 2020
  6. By: Teresa Gomez-Diaz (ligm - Laboratoire d'Informatique Gaspard-Monge - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Fédération de Recherche Bézout - ESIEE Paris - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - UPEM - Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée); Tomas Recio (Universidad de Cantabria [Santander])
    Abstract: Our proposal of an Open Science definition as a political and legal framework where research outputs are shared and disseminated in order to be rendered visible, accessible, reusable is developed, standing over the concepts enhanced by the Budapest Open Science Initiative (BOAI), and by the Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) and Open data movements. We elaborate this proposal through a detailed analysis of some selected EC policies, laws and the role of research evaluation practices.
    Keywords: Research data,Open access,Open Science,Research software,Infrastructures,Research evaluation,Ciencia abierta,Science ouverte
    Date: 2020–09–16
  7. By: Peter Alexiadis; Alexandre de Streel
    Abstract: A consensus is emerging around the world about the need for policymakers to address certain characteristics and competitive tendencies that are generated by digital platforms or digital ecosystems, with a view to reforming the public policy instruments currently in place so that they are fit for the digital age. The paper starts by reviewing the relevant precedents under EU competition law and economic regulation upon which this reform could be based. The paper then puts forward recommendations to adapt competition rules, in particular as regards the determination of market power (e.g., by better taking into account the effects of ecosystems, the impact of potential competition and the role of innovation) and the application of theories of harm (i.e. by focusing on leveraging and envelopment behaviour, access to key innovation capabilities, discrimination and self-preferencing and the violation of normative regulatory principles). The paper then proceeds to propose a cumulative 'three criteria test' to determine the types of digital platforms upon which competition rules, and possibly complementary regulation, should focus. These three criteria require an assessment of: (i) the existence of market structures which are highly concentrated and non-contestable; (ii) the presence of digital gatekeepers which act as unavoidable trading partners; (iii) and, for the purposes of ex ante regulation, the lack of effectiveness of competition rules to address the identified problems in the market. The paper also considers the types of remedies that could be imposed on those identified digital platforms, including: interoperability and access to key innovation capabilities such as data; the prohibition of anti-competitive discrimination; and the facilitation of consumer switching. Given the rapid evolution of technology and market uncertainty, consideration should be given as to whether these remedies should be imposed in a participatory manner with the industry stakeholders directly affected by the measures. Finally, the paper deals with a number of procedural and institutional issues raised by the adoption of such a legal standard, proposing to adapt existing antitrust guidelines, to extend the power of DG Competition to conduct fully fledged market investigations (as is the case in the UK and Australia) and possibly to work closely with National Regulatory Agencies, coordination with whom at EU level arguably needs to be strengthened.
    Keywords: Digital markets, Online Platforms, Antitrust, Economic Regulation, European Union, Regulation
    Date: 2020–02
  8. By: Olasunkanmi Olusogo OLAGUNJU (Centre for Economic Policy Analysis and Research, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Lagos, Nigeria Author-2-Name: Author-2-Workplace-Name: Author-3-Name: Author-3-Workplace-Name: Author-4-Name: Author-4-Workplace-Name: Author-5-Name: Author-5-Workplace-Name: Author-6-Name: Author-6-Workplace-Name: Author-7-Name: Author-7-Workplace-Name: Author-8-Name: Author-8-Workplace-Name:)
    Abstract: Objective - This research study examines the benefits and advantages associated with Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) in Nigeria's ecosystem. It scrutinises the contributions of safety or security of heroic inventions and innovations to economic growth. Methodology/Technique - With the adoption of institutional theory, this study examines the pertinent legal instruments, administration and challenges of IPRs in Nigeria. The paper is specifically built on content analysis, key informant interviews, and expert insights which are used to unearth the institutional framework for transforming IPRs into sustainable economic or financial assets. Finding - Based on content validity of the research, it is concluded that IPRs can be transformed into sustainable economic wealth or tangible financial resources with the creation of institutional apparatus for mitigating theft, piracy or illegal transfer of IPRs in Nigeria as well as other developing nations. Consequently, some key policy suggestions necessary to secure IPRs for economic growth or optimal performance are espoused in this study. Novelty - The paper makes findings relevant to how institutional weaknesses actually spearhead the growth of theft, piracy and illegal exchange or utilisation of intellectual resources of Nigeria. Type of Paper - Review.
    Keywords: Institution; Rights; Economy; Property; Security; Administration.
    JEL: O31 O43 K21 O1 O17
    Date: 2020–09–30
  9. By: Prem, Mounu; Vargas, Juan F.; Mejía, Daniel
    Abstract: Policies based on prohibition and repression to fight the war on drugs have largely failed in a variety of contexts. However, incentive-based policies may also fail and have unintended negative consequences if policymakers do not properly anticipate the behavioral reactions of people. This is particularly problematic in the case of policies that are announced prior to their implementation. This paper shows that a naive an untimely policy announcement generated an unprecedented escalation in the production of cocaine in Colombia, offsetting almost 20 years of US-backed efforts to fight the war on drugs in that country and billions of dollars invested.
    Date: 2020–10–09
  10. By: Edward Balistreri; Petros C. Mavroidis; Thomas J. Prusa
    Abstract: Typically, the WTO Arbitrator, when charged with evaluating the permissible level of countermeasures (suspension of concessions), has chosen a counterfactual state of the world where the challenged (illegal) measure had not been adopted at all. The Arbitrator then would calculate the trade lost because of the adopted (illegal) measure, and thus, decide on the level of permissible countermeasures. In US-Washing Machines (Article 22.6-US), deviating from this custom, the Arbitrator adopted a different counterfactual, assuming that the complainant had adopted a different, “reasonable” measure. The Arbitrator then evaluated the trade lost based on the distance between the adopted (illegal) and the “reasonable” measure and calculated the level of countermeasures. In this paper, we explain the multitude of perils facing dispute settlement if this approach is adopted in future disputes. We also advance a few thoughts on rethinking the workings of the Arbitrator when measuring the level of permissible countermeasures, since similar slippery slopes risk being reproduced in future cases.
    Keywords: de novo review, retaliation, antidumping
    JEL: K40
    Date: 2020–05
  11. By: Ganev, Georgy
    Abstract: Based on an analytical narrative, and utilizing macroeconomic and new institutional economic theory, this exposition studies the Bulgarian economy during the decades after 1989. The three decades are placed in the context of the century-and-a-half-long Bulgarian development and convergence dynamic. They are then presented in terms of clearly defined sub-periods, and each sub-period is analyzed in detail. The analysis for each period focuses on three sets of issues: macroeconomic developments, microeconomic developments, and institutional changes. The exposition ends by applying the insights from the analysis to the question of whether the state of the economy in Bulgaria as of 2019 gives grounds for pessimism (Bulgaria will continue the cycles of unsuccessful convergence) or for optimism (Bulgaria will achieve an unprecedented degree of convergence in the coming decades). The answer is that at present both expectations can be supported by sets of serious arguments.
    Keywords: Bulgaria; convergence; economic development; EU accession; EU membership; predatory entrepreneurship
    JEL: K42 O43 O47 O52 P21
    Date: 2019–07–11
  12. By: Bernard M. Hoekman; Petros C. Mavroidis
    Abstract: Recent survey evidence illustrates that many WTO members and trade practitioners believe that the WTO dispute settlement system needs improvement. We make several proposals to improve the operation of WTO conflict resolution, drawing on proposals made by WTO members in the long-running negotiations to improve WTO dispute settlement procedures. We argue that a focus on technical dimensions of dispute settlement is insufficient to prevent a steady decline in the salience of the organization. Revitalizing the WTO as a forum for rulemaking is needed both to address the cross-border policy spillovers driving trade conflicts between the major trading powers and to improve WTO conflict resolution. Principals – WTO members – should accept that negotiations to clarify and extend existing rules must be an element of a robust system of dispute settlement, and that bolstering WTO dispute settlement is a necessary condition for nascent efforts at plurilateral rulemaking to be successful.
    Keywords: WTO, Appellate Body, Dispute Settlement, Conflict Resolution
    JEL: F15 K40
    Date: 2020–01
  13. By: Klein, Daniel; Ludwig, Christopher A.; Nicolay, Katharina
    Abstract: Our study investigates firms' internal digitalizationas a crucial foundation for timely, data-driven decision making. We evaluate the association between digital infrastructure and improved decision making intax planning decisions to analyze if the benefits of digitalization expand beyond firms' core business functions. The novel use of a survey that identifies European firms' digital infrastructure over the period from 2005 to 2016 allows us to create an index of IT sophistication. Using this index, we extend prior approaches and observe the effectiveness of tax planning decisions in terms of a firm's ability to exploit income shifting incentives. Our empirical analysis confirms the prediction that digitalized firms respond more efficiently to income shifting incentives. Further, we provide evidence that firms with sophisticated IT are more reactive to shocks in the income shifting incentive than non-digital firms. Our results suggest that internal digitalization allows firms to efficiently monitor and manage internal processes and to strategically price internal transactions. With this work, we are the first to document the association of digitalization and the performance of firms' support functions.
    Keywords: Digital Transformation,Digitalization,Firm Performance,Decision Making,Multinational Corporations,Business Taxation,Information Technology,Profit Shifting
    JEL: O33 L25 H25 H26 K34
    Date: 2020
  14. By: Ingo Borchert; Paola Conconi,; Mattia Di Ubaldo, and Cristina Herghelegiu
    Abstract: The European Union (EU) often conditions preferential access to its market upon compliance by its trading partners with Non-Trade Policy Objectives (NTPOs), including human rights and labor and environmental standards. We systematically document the coverage of NTPOs in EU trade agreements and in its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). We then examine the extent to which trade agreements and GSP programs can be used to promote NTPOs. Preferential trade agreements are negotiated under multilateral rules, which require members to eliminate all tariffs reciprocally. As a result, once a trade agreement enters into force, the EU cannot easily restrict or extend access to its market so as to “punish bad behavior” or “reward good behavior” on NTPOs by its trading partners. By contrast, GSP preferences are granted on a unilateral basis, so they can be limited or extended, depending on compliance with NTPOs. EU GSP programs can thus provide a carrot-and-stick mechanism to promote NTPOs in partner countries.
    Keywords: Trade Agreements, GSP, Conditionality, Non-Trade Policy Objectives
    JEL: F13 F50 J80 K32
    Date: 2020–04
  15. By: Slotwinski, Michaela; Stutzer, Alois; Bevelander, Pieter
    Abstract: We study the causal effect of the possibility to vote on foreigners propensity to naturalize, a key indicator of successful integration. Based on Swedish administrative data and an institutional setting producing a quasi-random assignment of the eligibility to vote, we find that the overall effect depends on the composition of the migrant population. For immigrants from places with poor living conditions, we observe that the experience of non-citizen voting rights substantially increases their propensity to naturalize. In contrast, for those coming from places with a high standard of living, the same experience reduces it. Both reactions clearly reveal that individuals assign a positive value to formal democratic participation rights. While the behavior of the former group is likely dominated by the motivational force inherent in the possibility to participate, the behavior of the latter group reflects the devaluation of formal citizienship if it is decoupled from democratic rights.
    Keywords: citizenship,migration,naturalization,value of voting,voting rights
    JEL: D02 J15 K37
    Date: 2020
  16. By: Bernard M. Hoekman; Petros C. Mavroidis
    Abstract: Recent debates on the operation of the WTO’s dispute resolution mechanism have focused primarily on the Appellate Body (AB). We argue that this neglects the first-order issue confronting the rules-based trading system: sustaining the principle of de-politicized dispute resolution that is reflected in the negative consensus rules for adoption of findings by trade dispute adjudicators. The existence of the AB is not material in this regard. Improving the quality of the panel process, complemented by reforms to WTO working practices that reduce incentives to resort to formal dispute settlement, can resolve the main issues that led to the AB crisis. An effective, coherent and consistent system of WTO dispute resolution need not include an AB.
    Keywords: trade disputes, adjudication, Appellate Body, panels, WTO reform
    JEL: K40
    Date: 2020–05
  17. By: Ghada Abid
    Abstract: This literature review of government-funded refugee services identifies the issues related to refugee resettlement programs; settlement location; housing; mental health services and employment services in different Canadian provinces and cities. It then summarizes the best practices related to refugees’ integration in Canada or in other refugee resettlement countries. Wherever possible, the report mentions relevant policy recommendations addressed to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in the different journal articles, papers or reports.
    Keywords: refugees, canada, resettlement, IRCC, refugee housing, refugee mental health, refugee employment
    JEL: D63 I38 I31 J18 J24 J15 J6 K37
    Date: 2020–10

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