nep-law New Economics Papers
on Law and Economics
Issue of 2024‒03‒11
six papers chosen by
Yves Oytana, Université de Franche-Comté

  1. Immigration Enforcement and Public Safety By Felipe M. Gonçalves; Elisa Jácome; Emily K. Weisburst
  2. Do Remote Workers Deter Neighborhood Crime? Evidence from the Rise of Working from Home By Jesse Matheson; Brendon McConnell; James Rockey; Argyris Sakalis; Jesse A. Matheson
  3. Do judicial assignments matter? Evidence from random case allocation By Ganglmair, Bernhard; Helmers, Christian; Love, Brian J.
  4. Does Defensive Gun Use Deter Crime? By John J. Donohue; Alex Oktay; Amy L. Zhang; Matthew Benavides
  5. Anticipated Monitoring, Inhibited Detection, and Diminished Deterrence By Makofske, Matthew
  6. Did Violence Against Asian-Americans Rise in 2020? Evidence from a Novel Approach to Measuring Potentially Racially-Motivated Attacks By Aleksei Knorre; Britte Van Tiem; Aaron Chalfin

  1. By: Felipe M. Gonçalves; Elisa Jácome; Emily K. Weisburst
    Abstract: How does immigration enforcement affect public safety? Heightened enforcement could reduce crime by deterring and incapacitating immigrant offenders or, alternatively, increase crime by discouraging victims from reporting offenses. We study the U.S. Secure Communities program, which expanded interior enforcement against unauthorized immigrants. Using national survey data, we find that the program reduced the likelihood that Hispanic victims reported crimes to police and increased the victimization of Hispanics. Total reported crimes are unchanged, masking these opposing effects. We provide evidence that reduced Hispanic reporting is the key driver of increased victimization. Our findings underscore the importance of trust in institutions as a central determinant of public safety.
    JEL: J15 K37 K42
    Date: 2024–02
  2. By: Jesse Matheson; Brendon McConnell; James Rockey; Argyris Sakalis; Jesse A. Matheson
    Abstract: In this paper, we provide the first evidence of the effect of the shift to remote work on crime. We examine the impact of the rise of working from home (WFH) on neighborhood-level burglary rates, exploiting geographically granular crime data and a neighborhood WFH measure. We document three key findings. First, a one standard deviation increase in neighborhood WFH (9.5pp) leads to a persistent 4% drop in burglaries. This effect is large, explaining more than half of the 30% decrease in burglaries across England and Wales since 2019. Second, this treatment effect exhibits heterogeneity according to the remote work capacity of contiguous neighborhoods. Specifically, being surrounded by relatively high WFH neighborhoods can entirely offset the crime-reducing benefit of a given neighborhood’s WFH potential. This is consistent with the predictions of a spatial search model of criminal activity that we develop in the paper. Finally, we document large welfare gains to the decrease in burglary. We estimate welfare gains using a hedonic house price model. Our most conservative estimates show the welfare gains are £24.5billion (1% of 2022 UK GDP), but the true gains are likely much higher. These estimates suggest the reduction in burglaries are among the most important consequences of the rise in WFH.
    Keywords: working from home, property crime, spatial spillovers, hedonic house price models
    JEL: H75 K42 R20
    Date: 2024
  3. By: Ganglmair, Bernhard; Helmers, Christian; Love, Brian J.
    Abstract: Because judges exercise discretion in how they handle and decide cases, heterogeneity across judges can affect case outcomes and, thus, preferences among litigants for particular judges. However, selection obscures the causal mechanisms that drive these preferences. We overcome this challenge by studying the introduction of random case assignment in a venue (the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas) that previously experienced a high degree of case concentration before one judge (Alan Albright), whom litigants could select with virtual certainty. To assess Albright's importance to patent enforcers, we examine how case filing patterns changed following the adoption of random case allocation and show that case filings in the Western District of Texas decreased significantly at both the intensive and extensive margins. Moreover, to shed light on why litigants prefer Judge Albright, we compare motions practice and case management metrics across randomly assigned cases and show that cases assigned to Albright were both scheduled to proceed to trial relatively quickly and less likely to raise the issue of patentable subject matter.
    Keywords: Judicial assignments, judge shopping, forum shopping, litigation, patents, U.S
    JEL: K4 O3
    Date: 2024
  4. By: John J. Donohue; Alex Oktay; Amy L. Zhang; Matthew Benavides
    Abstract: We study the opposing deterrent and enabling effects of guns carried by law-abiding citizens on violent crime, using the location of shooting ranges as an instrument. Our incident-level data based on admittedly imperfect data from the Gun Violence Archive suggests that defensive gun use (DGU) by crime victims may decrease the probability of their injury or death, while increasing the risk of death or injury by the criminal suspects. However, in the aggregate, higher numbers of defensive gun uses—which proxies for more gun carrying and use—are associated with higher numbers of violent crimes, injuries, and fatalities among victims and suspects alike. We hypothesize that this equilibrium effect arises because more guns being carried and used by citizens produce more incentive and opportunities for criminals to acquire guns, leading to a commensurate increase in the incidence and lethality of crime. In summary, our analysis supports the conclusion that the widespread carrying and use of guns is overall more likely to enable violent crimes than to deter them.
    JEL: I18 K42
    Date: 2024–02
  5. By: Makofske, Matthew
    Abstract: Monitoring programs—by creating expected costs to regulatory violations—promote compliance through general deterrence, and are essential for regulating firms with potentially hazardous products and imperfectly observable compliance. Yet, evidence on how monitoring deployment affects perceived detection probabilities and—by extension—compliance, is sparse. Beginning in May 2020, pandemic-related protocols in Maricopa County, Arizona, required routine health inspections to occur by video-conference at food establishments with vulnerable populations (e.g., hospitals and nursing homes). Unlike conventional on-site inspections—which continued at most food establishments—these "virtual" inspections were scheduled in advance, and thus, easily anticipated. The virtual format also likely inhibits observation of some violations, further reducing detection probability. Tracking five violations that are detected by tests in both inspection formats, I find evidence of substantial anticipation-enabled detection avoidance. Comparing against contemporaneous on-site inspections, virtual inspections detect 53% fewer of these specific violations relative to pre-treatment levels, and that decrease reverses entirely when treated establishments are subsequently inspected on-site. Detected counts of all violations decrease 41% in virtual inspections. Consistent with general deterrence, this decrease is more than offset in establishments' first post-treatment on-site inspections, where detected counts exceed the pre-treatment average by 28%. Across establishment types and compliance histories, deterrence-effect heterogeneity suggests a simple dynamic enforcement rule would better allocate existing inspection resources, and might meaningfully reduce social noncompliance costs.
    Keywords: deterrence, regulatory enforcement, inspection, food safety, public health
    JEL: I18 K32 Q18
    Date: 2024–02–05
  6. By: Aleksei Knorre; Britte Van Tiem; Aaron Chalfin
    Abstract: Did anti-Asian violence rise after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic? Efforts to answer this question are compromised by the inherent difficulty of measuring racially-motivated crimes as well as concerns that reporting of racially-motivated hate crimes may have changed due to their increased salience during the pandemic. We pursue an alternative approach to studying whether anti-Asian violence rose after March 2020 that addresses each of these concerns. Using data from the FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System, we study inter-race violence occurring in public spaces. While public violence declined among all Americans after March 2020, the share of public violence directed at Asian-Americans by people who were previously unknown to them – or were acquaintances – rose more than it did for other Americans. While this relationship did not hold among an auxiliary sample of large US cities, the national evidence is consistent with a modest increase in racially- motivated violence directed towards Asian-Americans.
    JEL: K4 K40 K42
    Date: 2024–02

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