nep-law New Economics Papers
on Law and Economics
Issue of 2024‒02‒05
four papers chosen by
Yves Oytana, Université de Franche-Comté

  1. Swiftness and Delay of Punishment By Libor Dušek; Christian Traxler
  2. Accessing the Safety Net: How Medicaid Affects Health and Recidivism By Packham, Analisa; Slusky, David
  3. The Emergence of Enforcement By Luca Anderlini; Leonardo Felli; Michele Piccione
  4. Illegal loot box advertising on social media: an empirical study using the Meta and TikTok ad transparency repositories By Xiao, Leon Y.

  1. By: Libor Dušek; Christian Traxler
    Abstract: This paper studies how the swiftness and delay of punishment affect behavior. Using rich administrative data from automated speed cameras, we exploit two (quasi-)experimental sources of variation in the time between a speeding offense and the sending of a ticket. At the launch of the speed camera system, administrative challenges caused delays of up to three months. Later, we implemented a protocol that randomly assigned tickets to swift or delayed processing. We identify two different results. First, delays have a negative effect on payment compliance: the rate of timely paid fines diminishes by 7 to 9% when a ticket is sent with a delay of four or more weeks. We also find some evidence that very swift tickets – sent on the first or second day following the offense – increase timely payments. These results align with the predictions of expert scholars that we elicited in a survey. Second, speeding tickets cause a strong, immediate, and persistent decline in speeding. However, we do not detect any robust, differential effects of swiftness or delay on speeding. This challenges widely held beliefs, as reflected in our survey. Yet, we document large mechanical benefits of swift punishment and provide a theoretical framework of learning and updating that explains our findings.
    Keywords: Law enforcement, celerity of punishment, swiftness, specific deterrence, speeding, payment compliance, expert survey
    JEL: K14 K42 D80
    Date: 2024–01–19
  2. By: Packham, Analisa (Vanderbilt University); Slusky, David (University of Kansas)
    Abstract: We estimate the causal impact of access to means-tested public health insurance coverage (Medicaid) on health outcomes and recidivism for those recently released from incarceration. To do so, we leverage a policy change in South Carolina that allowed simplified Medicaid re-enrollment for previously incarcerated eligible individuals. Using linked administrative data on criminal convictions and health insurance claims, we find that reducing barriers in access to Medicaid for vulnerable populations increases enrollment and utilization of health care services. However, we do not find that this improved health care insurance access reduces 1-year or 3-year recidivism, suggesting that effectiveness of such policies is context dependent.
    Keywords: Medicaid, health care utilization, recidivism
    JEL: I38 I18 K42
    Date: 2023–12
  3. By: Luca Anderlini (Department of Economics, Georgetown University); Leonardo Felli (Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge); Michele Piccione (London School of Economics)
    Abstract: How do mechanisms that enforce cooperation emerge in a society where none are available and agents are endowed with raw power, that allows a more powerful agent to expropriate a less powerful one? We study a model where expropriation is costly and agents can choose whether to engage in surplus-augmenting cooperation or engage in expropriation. While in bilateral relations, if cooperation is not overwhelmingly productive and expropriation is not too costly, the latter will prevent cooperation, when there are three or more agents, powerful ones can become enforcers of cooperation for agents ranked below them. In equilibrium they will expropriate smaller amounts from multiple weaker cooperating agents who in turn will not deviate for fear of being expropriated more heavily because of their larger expropriation proceeds. Surprisingly, the details of the power structure are irrelevant for the existence of equilibria with enforcement provided that enough agents are present and one is ranked above all others. These details are instead key to the existence of other highly non-cooperative equilibria that obtain in certain cases.
    Keywords: Jungle, Power Structures, Enforcement, Rule of Law
    JEL: C79 D00 D01 D31 K19 K40 K49
    Date: 2023–12–13
  4. By: Xiao, Leon Y. (IT University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: Loot boxes are gambling-like products inside video games that can be bought with real-world money to obtain random rewards. They are widely available to children, and stakeholders are concerned about potential harms, e.g., overspending. UK advertising must disclose, if relevant, that a game contains (i) any in-game purchases and (ii) loot boxes specifically. An empirical examination of relevant adverts on Meta-owned platforms (i.e., Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger) and TikTok revealed that only about 7% disclosed loot box presence. The vast majority of social media advertising (93%) was therefore non-compliant with UK advertising regulations and also EU consumer protection law. In the UK alone, the 93 most viewed TikTok adverts failing to disclose loot box presence were watched 292, 641, 000 times total or approximately 10 impressions per active user. Many people have therefore been repeatedly exposed to prohibited and socially irresponsible advertising that failed to provide important and mandated information. Implementation deficiencies with ad repositories, which must comply with transparency obligations imposed by the EU Digital Services Act, are also highlighted, e.g., not disclosing the beneficiary. How data access empowered by law can and should be used by researchers is practically demonstrated. Policymakers should consider enabling more such opportunities for the public benefit.
    Date: 2024–01–02

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