nep-law New Economics Papers
on Law and Economics
Issue of 2021‒01‒25
seventeen papers chosen by
Eve-Angeline Lambert, Université de Lorraine

  1. Can Recidivism be Prevented from Behind Bars? Evidence from a Behavioral Program By William Arbour
  2. How to align formal land rights with farmers' perceptions in Central Asia? By Akhmadiyeva, Zarema; Herzfeld, Thomas
  3. Consumer Protection for Financial Inclusion in Low and Middle Income Countries: Bridging Regulator and Academic Perspectives By Seth Garz; Xavier Giné; Dean Karlan; Rafe Mazer; Caitlin Sanford; Jonathan Zinman
  4. The Impact of the First Professional Police Forces on Crime By Anna Bindler; Randi Hjalmarsson
  5. The Political Cost of Lockdown's Enforcement By Fazio, Andrea; Reggiani, Tommaso G.; Sabatini, Fabio
  6. The Leniency Rule Revisited: Experiments on Cartel Formation with Open Communication By Maximilian Andres; Lisa Bruttel; Jana Friedrichsen
  7. The impact of crime shocks across gender and socioeconomic groups: a large-scale mapping of behavioral disruption By Rodrigo LARA MOLINA; Alejandro NORIEGA; Eaman JAHANI; Julie RICARD; Alex PENTLAND
  8. Mandatory Integration Agreements for Unemployed Job Seekers: A Randomized Controlled Field Experiment in Germany By van den Berg, Gerard J.; Hofmann, Barbara; Stephan, Gesine; Uhlendorff, Arne
  9. Intellectual property rights and agricultural development: evidence from a worldwide index of IPRS in agriculture (1961-2018) By Mercedes Campi; Alessandro Nuvolari
  10. Strengthening Commercial Courts and Departments in Bosnia and Herzegovina By World Bank
  11. Conscription and Military Service: Do They Result in Future Violent and Non-Violent Incarcerations and Recidivism? By Wang, Xintong; Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso
  12. Competition, Technocracy and Inequality By Paul, Cocioc
  13. Good regulatory practices and co-operation in trade agreements: A historical perspective and stocktaking By Céline Kauffmann; Camila Saffirio
  14. Endogamous Marriage among Immigrant Groups: The Impact of Deportations under Secure Communities By Bansak, Cynthia; Pearlman, Sarah
  15. Prison Rehabilitation Programs: Efficiency and Targeting By Arbour, William; Lacroix, Guy; Marchand, Steeve
  16. The shifting contours of trade in knowledge: The new "trade-related aspects" of intellectual property By Taubman, Antony
  17. Markups for consumers By Ganglmair, Bernhard; Kann, Alexander; Tsanko, Ilona

  1. By: William Arbour
    Abstract: Incarcerated offenders are offered a wide range of programs to encourage their chances of successful reintegration into society. Little is known, however, about the degree to which such programs improve prisoners' reentry. In this paper, I study the effects of a cognitive-behavioral program implemented in Quebec, Canada, with a rich micro-level dataset. To manage the econometric issue of inmates' self-selection into the program, I exploit inmates' random assignment to probation officers who exhibit varying propensities to recommend the rehabilitation measure. I find large, negative, and significant effects of the program on recidivism, as measured by an inmate's probability of serving a subsequent sentence: within one year following release, the program reduces recidivism by up to 18 percentage points. Moreover, the program is shown to decrease the number of future offenses. Further analyses indicate that the most plausible mechanism can be attributed to the program's success in altering offenders' preferences towards crime.
    Keywords: Incarceration, Recidivism, Cognitive-Behavioral, Judges Fixed Effects
    JEL: D04 J24 K42
    Date: 2021–01–08
  2. By: Akhmadiyeva, Zarema; Herzfeld, Thomas
    Abstract: Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan still undergo the process of establishing a land legislative system, implementing agricultural reforms that aim at increasing land productivity. The effectiveness of these reforms is often dependent on the level of law enforcement that varies in accordance with whether political elites in these countries have an interest in enacting certain reforms. As a result, legal land rights and farmers' perceptions of land rights may contradict each other and may create an uncertain and insecure environment for the farmers. Based on the findings of a farm-level survey conducted in 2019 in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, this policy brief claims that legal rights and farmers' actual farming practices do not coincide in many cases. Deviations appear in both directions: 1) farmers engage in activities which they are not allowed to be, and 2) farmers do not use all the opportunities provided by the national land legislation. These deviations indicate the ineffectiveness not only of land policies but of administrative monitoring and law enforcement mechanisms, too. Policy makers are recommended reconsidering the legal restrictions of land use in how far they are necessary to reach policy objectives. Furthermore, governments should reform the judicial system in particular enabling farmers and land users to appeal to courts for dispute resolutions in an effective, transparent, and fair manner. Finally, international donors should support future research on land rights and tenure security to improve policy design.
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Seth Garz; Xavier Giné; Dean Karlan; Rafe Mazer; Caitlin Sanford; Jonathan Zinman
    Abstract: Markets for consumer financial services are growing rapidly in low and middle income countries and being transformed by digital technologies and platforms. With growth and change come concerns about protecting consumers from firm exploitation due to imperfect information and contracting as well as from their own decision-making limitations. We seek to bridge regulator and academic perspectives on these underlying sources of harm and five potential problems that can result: high and hidden prices, overindebtedness, post-contract exploitation, fraud, and discrimination. These potential problems span product markets old and new, and could impact micro- and macroeconomies alike. Yet there is little consensus on how to define, diagnose, or treat them. Evidence-based consumer financial protection will require substantial advances in theory and especially empirics, and we outline key areas for future research.
    JEL: D11 D12 D18 D81 D82 D83 D9 G21 K23 K31 K42 O12
    Date: 2020–12
  4. By: Anna Bindler (University of Cologne and University of Gothenburg); Randi Hjalmarsson (University of Gothenburg and CEPR)
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the effect on crime of creating a fundamental modern-day institution: centralized professional police forces tasked with preventing crime. We study the 1829 formation of the London Metropolitan Police – the first professional force worldwide. Using newly digitized and geocoded crime and police data together with difference-indifferences and pre-post designs, we find evidence of a significant reduction in violent crimes (despite the possibility of off-setting increases in clearance and reporting rates). In contrast, a reduction in property crime is not visible.
    Keywords: police, crime, deterrence, economic history, institutions
    JEL: K42 N93 H0
    Date: 2021
  5. By: Fazio, Andrea (Sapienza University of Rome); Reggiani, Tommaso G. (Cardiff University); Sabatini, Fabio (Sapienza University of Rome)
    Abstract: We study how the political cost of enforcing a lockdown in response to the COVID- 19 outbreak relates to citizens' propensity for altruistic punishment in Italy, the early epicenter of the pandemic. Approval for the government's management of the crisis decreases with the amount of the penalties that individuals would like to see enforced for lockdown violations. People supporting stronger punishment are more likely to consider the government's reaction to the pandemic as insufficient. However, after the establishment of tougher sanctions for risky behaviors, we observe a sudden flip in support for government. Higher amounts of the desired fines become associated with a higher probability of considering the government's policy response as too extreme, lower trust in government, and lower confidence in the truthfulness of the officially provided information. Lock-downs entail a political cost that helps explain why democracies may adopt epidemiologically suboptimal policies.
    Keywords: COVID-19, lockdown, law enforcement, altruistic punishment, incumbent support, trust in institutions, Italy
    JEL: D12 D83 I12 K40
    Date: 2021–01
  6. By: Maximilian Andres; Lisa Bruttel; Jana Friedrichsen
    Abstract: The experimental literature on antitrust enforcement provides robust evidence that communication plays an important role for the formation and stability of cartels. We extend these studies through a design that distinguishes between innocuous communication and communication about a cartel, sanctioning only the latter. To this aim, we introduce a participant in the role of the competition authority, who is properly incentivized to judge communication content and price setting behavior of the firms. Using this novel design, we revisit the question whether a leniency rule successfully destabilizes cartels. In contrast to existing experimental studies, we find that a leniency rule does not affect cartelization. We discuss potential explanations for this contrasting result.
    Keywords: cartel, judgment of communication, corporate leniency program, price competition, experiment
    JEL: C92 D43 L41
    Date: 2021
  7. By: Rodrigo LARA MOLINA; Alejandro NORIEGA; Eaman JAHANI; Julie RICARD; Alex PENTLAND
    Abstract: In recent decades the world has seen a simultaneous trend towards becoming more peaceful overall, but also towards higher homicide rates surging in focal regions in the developing world. Although abundant research exists on the nature and sociology of crime, few studies look into the damaging impact of crime and violence on the daily lives of affected communities. The present study proposes the use of societal-scale behavioral data—card transactions’ metadata—to elicit such impact. On the crime side, we use detailed homicide records for an entire middle-income country to identify salient crime shocks at the local level. On the behavioral side, we use debit card transaction volumes throughout the country to extract behavioral indices. We show that crime shocks have a substantial effect on communities’ consumption patterns. Moreover, we show that the effects of crime shocks distribute differently across population subgroups defined by gender and socioeconomic status— e.g., with reductions of up to 7% in females’ average volume of transactions—potentially exacerbating social inequalities. We conclude this work with policy recommendations on the use of ‘big data’ sources to monitor and help.
    JEL: Q
    Date: 2021–01–12
  8. By: van den Berg, Gerard J. (University of Bristol); Hofmann, Barbara (FEA Nuremberg); Stephan, Gesine (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg); Uhlendorff, Arne (CREST)
    Abstract: In the German unemployment insurance system, Integration Agreements (IA) are mandatory contracts between the employment agency and the unemployed, jointly signed by the latter and the caseworker. IAs stipulate rights and obligations but are generally perceived as instruments to control search behavior. We designed and implemented a Randomized Controlled Trial involving thousands of newly unemployed workers, where we randomize the timing of the IA as well as the extent to which this timing is announced prior to the meeting. Randomization is at the individual level. We use administrative registers to observe outcomes. A theoretical analysis of anticipation of prior announcements provides suggestions to empirically detect this. The results show that IAs early in the spell have on average a small positive effect on entering employment within a year. When classifying individuals using an employability indicator, we find that this result is driven by individuals with adverse prospects. Among them, being assigned to an early IA increases the probability of re-employment within a year from 45% to 53%.
    Keywords: unemployment, monitoring, job search, active labor market policy, nudge, anticipation, randomized controlled trial
    JEL: J68 J64 C93
    Date: 2021–01
  9. By: Mercedes Campi (Instituto Interdisciplinario de Economía Política de Buenos Aires - UBA - CONICET); Alessandro Nuvolari (Istituto di Economia, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna)
    Abstract: This paper revises and updates the Campi-Nuvolari index of intellectual property protection for plant varieties (Campi and Nuvolari, 2015). The new index has been updated and provides yearly scores for the period 1961-2018 for a total number of 104 countries, which have legislation on plant variety protection in force. The new evidence highlights the tendency towards more similar and stronger systems of intellectual property rights (IPRs) worldwide, regardless of individual characteristics of countries. The signing of the TRIPS and of trade agreements with TRIPS-Plus provisions are major drivers of this process. In addition, certain features of countries such as the regulatory environment, the level of human capital, the importance of agricultural production, and openness to trade, are also signicant determinants of the evolution of IPRs systems. We conclude discussing other possible applications of the data.
    Keywords: Intellectual Property Rights, Plant Breeders’ Rights, Patents, Agricultural Development, International Comparison
    JEL: Q01 O31 O34 O50
  10. By: World Bank
    Keywords: Law and Development - Judicial System Reform Law and Development - Law and Justice Institutions
    Date: 2019–10
  11. By: Wang, Xintong (Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania); Flores-Lagunes, Alfonso (Syracuse University)
    Abstract: Employing nonparametric bounds, we examine the effect of military service on incarceration outcomes using the Vietnam draft lotteries as a possibly invalid instrumental variable for military service. The draft is allowed to have a direct effect on the outcomes independently of military service, disposing of the exclusion restriction. We find: (i) suggestive but not strong statistical evidence that the direct effect of the draft increases the incarceration rate for violent offenses for a particular cohort of draft avoiders, and (ii) military service increases the incarceration rate for violent and nonviolent crimes of white volunteers and veterans in certain birth cohorts.
    Keywords: conscription, military service, incarceration, crime, nonparametric bounds
    JEL: K4 C31 C36
    Date: 2020–12
  12. By: Paul, Cocioc
    Abstract: The article present a brief analyze of theoretical virtues of free competition in relation with some visible limits and negative consequences observed in real economic life. Social intervention to correct (at least in part) those social failures and the new responses of the firms are discussed too. Possible motivations of these new actions are presented in connection with technocratic model of firm management. It seems that the model of professionalization of firm leadership created not only a new structure within the category of the intermediaries (one with extremely high powers), but later generated new interests typical for a social category. The intermediary develops his own agenda and seeks to control not only the market but also the business owners (which is possible in the conditions of the fragmentation of the large property). They have the power to distort and undermine normal competition (or at least to try it) and that conduct to some practices at legal and ethical borderline.
    Keywords: competition; technocracy; market failure; exclusion; inequality
    JEL: D40 D42 K21 L11 L12 L41
    Date: 2020–08–30
  13. By: Céline Kauffmann (OECD); Camila Saffirio (OECD)
    Abstract: This paper presents a stocktaking of standalone chapters in trade agreements dedicated to good regulatory practices and international regulatory co-operation. While standalone regulatory policy chapters in trade agreements remain a new development, they signal countries’ increasing interest in elevating the visibility and ambition of regulatory policy, in line with their commitments in the 2012 OECD Recommendation of the Council on Regulatory Policy and Governance and the 2005 APEC-OECD Integrated Checklist on Regulatory Reform. Still, the level of ambition of these chapters varies widely depending on the state of play of regulatory policy in trading partners. By comparing the main substantive and structural features of these chapters, this stocktaking aims to inform the development of similar chapters in future trade agreements.
    Keywords: CETA, CPTPP, good regulatory practices, international regulatory co-operation, Pacific Alliance, regulatory policy, trade agreements, USMCA
    JEL: F10 K2 K33 H11
    Date: 2021–01–20
  14. By: Bansak, Cynthia; Pearlman, Sarah
    Abstract: We investigate the impact of removals under the Secure Communities (SC) program on the marriage patterns of immigrant women living in the U.S. where endogamous marriage is the dominant form of partnership. We focus on enforcement by MSA and country of origin and find evidence that deportations increase overall marriage rates, increase the likelihood of endogamous marriage, decrease rates of exogamous marriage to immigrants from other countries and have indeterminate effects on marriage to natives. When examining channels for behavioral responses, we find evidence pointing towards the desire to mitigate the risk of deportation through the increased importance of networks.
    Keywords: Immigration Enforcement,Marriage,Endogamy,Secure Communities
    JEL: J13 J15 K37
    Date: 2021
  15. By: Arbour, William (University of Toronto); Lacroix, Guy (Université Laval); Marchand, Steeve (Université Laval)
    Abstract: Increasing evidence suggests that incarceration, under certain circumstances, can improve inmates' social reintegration upon release. Yet, the mechanisms through which incarceration can lead to successful rehabilitation remain largely unknown. This paper finds that participation in social rehabilitation programs while incarcerated can significantly reduce recidivism. This result is entirely driven by inmates whose risk and needs were evaluated by a widely used assessment tool identifying their criminogenic needs. For this group, we estimate that participation in these programs reduces recidivism by about 9 percentage points within three years following release. Our results suggest targeting criminogenic needs is crucial for successful rehabilitation. We also find considerable heterogeneous program treatment effects: inmates with a high overall risk score, or who exhibit procriminal attitudes, benefit little if at all from program participation. We investigate the stability of the treatment effect coefficients and conclude they unlikely suffer from an omitted variable bias.
    Keywords: incarceration, recidivism, rehabilitation programs, risk assessment
    JEL: K42
    Date: 2021–01
  16. By: Taubman, Antony
    Abstract: This paper charts the evolution and diversification of trade in knowledge that has taken place in the quarter-century since the WTO TRIPS Agreement came into force. Entirely new markets have come into being, potentially redefining the very character of 'trade'. The disruptive effect of digital technology has led to much of the content - formerly conceived of as 'added value' embedded in physical carrier media, traded and measured as 'goods' - can be traded in the form of specific licences that use IP rights covering the content that is increasingly accessed online in digital form. These new forms of exchange in valuable intangible content confront fundamental assumptions about the nature of trade and its interaction with the IP system, forcing a rethink of what constitutes the 'trade-related aspects' of intellectual property. The issues examined include the principle of territoriality of IP rights and the segmentation of markets according to national jurisdictions; the structuring of cross-border commercial exchanges into the two discrete categories of 'goods' and 'services'; the emerging disparity in regional trade agreements between provisions on digital IP standards and on digital products and e-commerce; and the significance of IP rights being treated as assets in investment treaties. Whatever formal or legal overlay is applied to these new trading arrangements - it is essential to understand that this is now trade in IP licences as such, rather than trade in goods that have an IP component as an adjunct or ancillary element. TRIPS came about at a time when economic growth theory incorporated intangible knowledge as an endogenous factor, rather than maintaining it as exogenous to models of growth. Trade policy must similarly work to incorporate an understanding of the trade in IP licences itself within cross-border commercial exchanges as an integral element of international trading relations: sale and licensing of IP rights can then be considered 'endogenous' to trade. This is essential for an accurate empirical picture of trade relations today, given the economic significance both of dispersed global value chains and of trade in 'pure' IP content as such particularly in the creative sectors.
    Keywords: intellectual property,trade in knowledge,digital trade,TRIPS Agreement
    JEL: F13 K10 K33 O30 O34 I18
    Date: 2020
  17. By: Ganglmair, Bernhard; Kann, Alexander; Tsanko, Ilona
    Abstract: A central motivating factor for studying price markups is their effect on consumer welfare. Reported estimates of (firm-level) price markups in the literature, however, are often focused on industry or cross-country comparisons. These treat different industries equally rather than based on how relevant they are for consumers. We propose markup measures in which firm-level price markups are weighted according to consumption expenditures in the respective industries. Using a concordance table between consumption categories (otherwise used for the calculation of consumer price indices) and a firm's industry classification, we report results for Germany for the years 2002 through 2016. We find that consumption-weighted price markups are higher than the conventionally reported revenue-weighted markups. We further show that consumption-weighted markups have increased faster, in particular for medium-income households, which highlights a potential role of price markup as a contributing factor to changes of inequality in society.
    Keywords: COICOP,consumption weights,Germany,inequality,price markups
    JEL: D63 E31 K21 L11 L40
    Date: 2020

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