nep-law New Economics Papers
on Law and Economics
Issue of 2023‒12‒11
six papers chosen by
Yves Oytana, Université de Franche-Comté

  1. Do refugees impact crime? Causal evidence from large-scale refugee immigration to Germany By Lange, Martin; Sommerfeld, Katrin
  2. Richard A. Posner: From Public Choice Theory to Economic Analysis of Law (1969-1973) By Sophie Harnay
  3. Not a Sip: Effects of Zero Tolerance Laws on Road Traffic Fatalities By Andrés Ramasco
  4. Critical AI Challenges in Legal Practice: An application to French Administrative Decisions By Khaoula Naili
  5. Heterogeneous and Racialized Impacts of State Incarceration Policies on Birth Outcomes in the U.S. By Courtney Boen; Elizabeth Bair; Hedwig Lee; Atheendar Venkataramani
  6. Law, human capital, and the emergence of free city-states in medieval Italy By Marianna Belloc; Francesco Drago; Roberto Galbiati

  1. By: Lange, Martin; Sommerfeld, Katrin
    Abstract: Does large-scale refugee immigration affect crime rates in receiving countries? We address this question based on the large and unexpected refugee inflow to Germany that peaked in 2015-2016. Arriving refugees were dispersed across the country based on a binding dispersal policy, yet we show that systematic regional sorting remains. Our empirical approach examines spatial correlations between refugee inflows and crime rates using the administrative allocation quotas as instrumental variables. Our results indicate that crime rates were not affected during the year of refugee arrival, but there was an increase in crime rates one year later. This lagged effect is small per refugee but large in absolute terms and is strongest for property and violent crimes. The crime effects are robust across specifications and in line with increased suspect rates for offenders from refugees' origin countries. Yet, we find some indication of over-reporting.
    Keywords: Crime, Immigration, Refugees, Dispersal Policy
    JEL: F22 J15 K42 R10
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Sophie Harnay (EconomiX (UMR 7235), UPL, Université Paris Nanterre, CNRS, 200 avenue de la République, 92001 Nanterre cedex, France)
    Abstract: The aim of the article is to explore how Richard A. Posner began to focus on judges and courts at the turn of the 1960s and early 1970s, when his focus had previously been mostly on regulation, antitrust law, and administrative agencies. We argue that Posner’s writings during this short period are critical to understanding his intellectual trajectory as they are the source of the pioneering research program that would be known as economic analysis of law a few years later. We thus emphasize the continuity between Posner’s early work of the 1969-1973 period, mostly inspired by public choice theory, and his later work, and show that the former obviously paved the way for the latter.
    Keywords: R. A. Posner, economic analysis of law, public choice, judicial decision-making, regulation
    JEL: B31 K2 K4
    Date: 2023–11
  3. By: Andrés Ramasco (University of Notre Dame)
    Abstract: Curtailing alcohol-related traffic fatalities is especially important for policymakers. I study whether there is an effect on Health Outcomes related to traffic accidents caused by Zero-Tolerance Laws and the mechanism driving these effects. Using Fatalities and Injuries counts at the county level. I exploit time and geographic variation in adopting the laws in a Difference-in-Differences framework. I find no sizeable reductions in various health outcomes, including traffic fatalities. I also test for heterogeneity across age groups, finding no significant differences. I propose and evaluate the persistence of drinking behavior and alcohol-related Hospitalizations as mechanisms explaining the null effects, finding no significant changes in several measures of alcohol consumption
    Date: 2023–11
  4. By: Khaoula Naili (Université de Franche-Comté, CRESE, F-25000 Besançon, France)
    Abstract: We use AI methods to evaluate the accuracy of several standard machine learning models for predicting judicial decision outcomes. We highlight the key steps and challenges in predicting judicial outcomes by applying these models to a database of administrative court decisions.These findings significantly contribute to our understanding of the potential advantages of AI in the context of predictive justice. We utilize AI methods to analyze administrative court decisions sourced from the database provided by the French Council of State. This analysis has been made possible due to the Council of State’s decision to make its decisions publicly accessible since March 2022. Our innovative approach pioneers the use of prediction models on the open data from the French Council of State, addressing the complexities associated with data analysis. Our primary objective is to assess the accuracy of these models in predicting outcomes in French administrative tribunals and identify the most effective model for forecasting administrative tribunal court decisions. The selected models are trained and evaluated on multi-class datasets, where decisions are traditionally categorized into various classes.
    Keywords: artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, Predictive jus- tice, Legal text.
    JEL: K4
    Date: 2023–11
  5. By: Courtney Boen; Elizabeth Bair; Hedwig Lee; Atheendar Venkataramani
    Abstract: While state incarceration policies have received much attention in research on the causes of mass incarceration in the U.S., their roles in shaping population health and health disparities remain largely unknown. We examine the impacts of two signature state incarceration policies adopted during the “tough on crime” era of the 1990s—three strikes and truth in sentencing—on Black and White birth outcomes. Using a difference-in-differences event study research design that models the dynamic impacts of these policies over time, we find that these policies had opposing effects on birth outcomes. We find that birth weight outcomes—including mean birth weight and low birth weight—for Black infants worsened markedly in the year three strikes policies were adopted. By contrast, birth outcomes for Black and White infants gradually improved after truth in sentencing policies were adopted. The discordant findings point to distinct, countervailing mechanisms by which sentencing policies can affect population health. We provide suggestive evidence that three strikes policies adversely impacted Black birth outcomes through affective mechanisms, by inducing highly racialized, stigmatizing public discourse around the time of policy adoption, while truth in sentencing likely impacted birth outcomes via material mechanisms, namely gradually reductions in community incarceration and crime rates. Altogether, these findings point to the need to further interrogate state criminal legal system policies for their impacts on population health, considering whether, how, and for whom these policies result in health impacts.
    JEL: I10 I14 I18 K4
    Date: 2023–11
  6. By: Marianna Belloc; Francesco Drago; Roberto Galbiati (ECON - Département d'économie (Sciences Po) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)
    Abstract: Abstract This paper considers how the foundation of the first universities in Italy affected the emergence of free city-states (the communes) in the period 1000–1300 CE. Exploiting a panel dataset of 121 cities, we show that the time variant distance of the sample cities to their closest university is inversely correlated with the probability of their transition to communal institutions. Our evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that the medieval universities provided the useful juridical knowledge and skills for building legal capacity and developing communal institutions.
    Keywords: Institutional change Education Human capital accumulation Communal movement. JEL CODES: I20 I23 K01 N33, Institutional change, Education, Human capital accumulation, Communal movement. JEL CODES: I20, I23, K01, N33
    Date: 2023–10

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