nep-law New Economics Papers
on Law and Economics
Issue of 2024‒04‒08
ten papers chosen by
Yves Oytana, Université de Franche-Comté

  1. Fighting crime for improved recycling: evaluating an anti-mafia policy on source separation of waste. By Baraldi, Anna Laura; Cantabene, Claudia; De Iudicibus, Alessandro
  2. Does Wealth Inhibit Criminal Behavior? Evidence from Swedish Lottery Winners and Their Children By Cesarini, David; Lindqvist, Erik; Östling, Robert; Schroeder, Christofer
  3. High-profile crime and perceived public safety: Evidence from Cologne's new year's eve in 2015 By Lange, Martin; Schmidt, Alexander
  4. Measuring Effective Labor Regulation in the Less Developed World: Recent Advances and Challenges Ahead By Ronconi, Lucas; Raphael, Steven
  5. The Effect of Content Moderation on Online and Offline Hate: Evidence from Germany’s NetzDG By Jiménez Durán, Rafael; Muller, Karsten; Schwarz, Carlo
  6. Come Out and Play: Public Space Recovery, Social Capital, and Citizen Security By Matías Braun; Francisco Gallego; Rodrigo R. Soares
  7. Product Liability Influences Incentives for Horizontal Mergers By Eric Langlais; Andreea Cosnita-Langlais; Tim Friehe
  8. Manager Characteristics and SMEs' Restructuring Decisions: In-Court vs. Out-of-Court Restructuring By Rachid Achbah
  9. The effectiveness of a certification of legality. Evidence from Italian firms By Alfano, Maria Rosaria; Cantabene, Claudia; de Iudicibus, Alessandro
  10. Screen for collusive behavior: A machine learning approach By Bantle, Melissa

  1. By: Baraldi, Anna Laura; Cantabene, Claudia; De Iudicibus, Alessandro
    Abstract: It is well documented that organized crime heavily affects the waste management system. This paper focuses on examining the impact of Law 164/1991, one of Italy’s most stringent measures against organized crime. The law, designed to counteract suspected mafia infiltration by mandating the dissolution of city councils, is investigated for its role in reinstating a more efficient waste management system. This involves an increase in selective waste collection for recycling purposes. We exploit the staggered enforcement of Law 164/1991 to show that both the percentage and the per-capita tonnes in selective waste collection, measured for municipalities in Apulia, Calabria, Campania and Sicily, increase sharply starting from the first election after compulsory administration in dissolved municipalities compared to the control group of those never dissolved; the average treatment effect of the anti-mafia policy is measured in a 5 percentage points and 17.5 Kg increase in the percentage and in per-capita tonnes of selective waste collection, respectively. This outcome is influenced by the city council dismissal, as it severs the connections between organized crime and local politicians. The resulting refreshed pool of elected officials, characterized by lower levels of corruption, then implements policies that are unfavorable to organized crime. This leads to a more effective allocation of public funds in sectors specifically targeted by organized crime, such as waste management.
    Keywords: Selective waste collection, Anti-mafia policies, Staggered Diff-in-diff, Corruption
    JEL: C2 D73 D78 I38 K42 Q53
    Date: 2023–11–15
  2. By: Cesarini, David (New York University); Lindqvist, Erik (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University); Östling, Robert (Stockholm School of Economics); Schroeder, Christofer (European Central Bank)
    Abstract: There is a well-established negative gradient between economic status and crime, but its underlying causal mechanisms are not well understood. We use data on four Swedish lotteries matched to data on criminal convictions to gauge the causal effect of financial windfalls on player`s own crime and their children`s delinquency. We estimate a positive but statistically insignificant effect of lottery wealth on players`own conviction risk. Our estimates allows us to rule out effects one fifth as large as the cross-sectional gradient between income and crime. We also estimate a less precise null effect of parental lottery wealth on child delinquency.
    Keywords: economics of crime; juvenile crime; income and wealth inequality
    JEL: J13 K42
    Date: 2023–11–21
  3. By: Lange, Martin; Schmidt, Alexander
    Abstract: This study analyses the impact of a high-profile crime event on perceived public safety. At the 2015 New Year's Eve celebrations in Cologne (NYE), Germany, refugees allegedly committed over a thousand crimes, ranging from theft to sexual assault. The widespread media coverage of these incidents made a shift in the public's perceived safety plausible. We empirically analyze this proposition using a difference-in-differences strategy. Using the European Social Survey, we estimate the differential response of German respondents to those of other European countries in terms of perceived safety after NYE. We find that Germans feel less safe after the NYE incidents. Women and individuals leaning toward the political right are affected the most. An analysis of search queries suggests that the loss of perceived safety may also translate into changed behavior, indicated by a higher demand for defense goods.
    Keywords: Crime, Perceived Safety, Immigration, Refugees
    JEL: J15 K42 Z13
    Date: 2023
  4. By: Ronconi, Lucas (University of Buenos Aires); Raphael, Steven (University of California, Berkeley)
    Abstract: This paper reviews recent efforts in social science to analyze labor enforcement in low-and-middle income countries (LMIC) and inform policy debates. Despite the existing limitations, the empirical evidence suggests that: 1) Enforcement is quite low in LMIC; there are fewer inspectors and inspections, lower penalties, and less trust in the judiciary compared to developed countries. 2) Increasing enforcement produces more compliance with little job destruction, although there is substantial debate and heterogeneity across countries. 3) Countries with more protective labor codes tend to enforce less. 4) Countries that become more open to trade also tend to enforce less. However, trade agreements with special clauses protecting workers can promote higher labor enforcement. 5) Inspection agencies in LMIC tend to focus their efforts on formal firms, leaving informal firms out of the radar which implies that the most vulnerable workers are usually excluded. 6) The constituency base of the government shapes labor enforcement, wherein labor-based governments devote more resources to inspection, although this is a debated issue. 7) Labor unions help promote enforcement, although in LMIC they can displace public inspections from small informal firms to larger formal firms because there is where labor unions members work. 8) Autonomous and professional bureaucracies do more labor enforcement presumably because they internalize the long-run benefits of enforcing the law and allow inspectors to accumulate experience.
    Keywords: labor, inspections, enforcement, informality, development, judiciary
    JEL: J88 K42 O43 P48
    Date: 2024–03
  5. By: Jiménez Durán, Rafael (Universit`a Bocconi, Department of Economics, IGIER, Stigler Center); Muller, Karsten (National University of Singapore, Department of Finance); Schwarz, Carlo (Universit`a Bocconi, Department of Economics, IGIER, PERICLES, CEPR, CAGE)
    Abstract: We study the online and offline effects of content moderation on social media using the introduction of Germany’s “Network Enforcement Act†(NetzDG), which fines social media platforms failing to remove hateful posts. We show that the law transformed social media discourse: posts became less hateful, refugee-related content less inflammatory, and the use of moderated platforms increased. The NetzDG also had offline effects by reducing anti-refugee hate crimes by 1% for every standard deviation in exposure to far-right social media use. The law reduced hate crimes partly by making it harder for perpetrators to coordinate, without changing attitudes toward refugees.
    Keywords: Social Media, NetzDG, Content Moderation, Hate Crime, Refugees, Germany JEL Classification: L82, J15, O38
    Date: 2024
  6. By: Matías Braun; Francisco Gallego; Rodrigo R. Soares
    Abstract: This paper examines the effects of renovating deteriorated public spaces on local socioeconomic outcomes. We analyze the impacts of a randomized experiment implemented in 28 fragile neighborhoods of Santiago, Chile. Our findings indicate that the renovation of local squares led to increased use and maintenance of the public space, enhanced neighborhood engagement, and a stronger sense of ownership among residents, along with a reduction in leisure activities outside the neighborhood. Moreover, treated neighborhoods experienced improvements in public security perceptions both within the square and in the broader neighborhood area. We also observe positive effects on trust (among acquaintances) and participation in community organizations. By exploring heterogeneous treatment effects across neighborhoods, we do not find evidence supporting theories emphasizing the joint determination of public security and social capital. Instead, our results suggest that the effects are better explained by increased neighborhood use, particularly in areas that are densely populated and have a higher proportion of social housing.
    Keywords: public space recovery, crime, social capital, urban infrastructure
    JEL: K42 O18 R53
    Date: 2023
  7. By: Eric Langlais; Andreea Cosnita-Langlais; Tim Friehe
    Abstract: This paper shows how product liability rules influence merger incentives. Consumers’ misperception of product risk critically influences which liability rule induces the strongest merger incentives. When consumers overestimate product risk, merger incentives under negligence and strict liability are similar and weaker than under no liability. When consumers underestimate product risk, merger incentives under negligence are weaker than those under strict liability but stronger than those under no liability.
    Keywords: Liability; Merger; Cournot; Market Structure
    JEL: K13 L13
    Date: 2024
  8. By: Rachid Achbah (UL2 UFR SEG)
    Abstract: This study aims to empirically investigate the impact of managers' characteristics on their choice between in-court and out-of-court restructuring. Based on the theory of upper echelons, we tested the preferences of 342 managers of financially distressed French firms regarding restructuring decisions. The overall findings of this study provide empirical support for the upper echelons theory. Specifically, managers with a long tenure and those with a high level of education are less likely to restructure before the court and are more likely to restructure privately. The findings also indicate that managers' age and gender do not significantly affect their choice between in-court and out-of-court restructuring. This study contributes to the literature on bankruptcy and corporate restructuring by turning the focus from firm characteristics to manager characteristics to explain restructuring decisions.
    Date: 2024–02
  9. By: Alfano, Maria Rosaria; Cantabene, Claudia; de Iudicibus, Alessandro
    Abstract: Over the past decade, Italy has enacted a variety of measures to combat organized crime. White lists of legitimate businesses, established within each Italian prefecture, are a strategic tool to thwart mafia encroachment in the sectors most susceptible to infiltration. By replacing anti-mafia documentation, this mechanism fosters trust in the legality of enterprises among potential clients, suppliers, and financial institutions. Drawing on an extensive firm-level dataset, we employ a comprehensive, generalized difference-in-differences design to investigate the consequences of such certification on firms’ access to credit and their profitability. Our findings indicate that this certification engenders tangible positive effects on firms’ performance, manifested in improved credit access and enhanced profitability. Notably, the impact on banking obligations is particularly pronounced in regions where organized crime is more prevalent, such as the Southern regions of Italy. Conversely, the effect on profitability appears to be more accentuated in the North. These effects are more pronounced for firms that maintain certification over multiple years.
    Keywords: White List, Organized crime, Certification, Reputation, DID
    JEL: C21 H40 H81 R38
    Date: 2024
  10. By: Bantle, Melissa
    Abstract: The paper uses a machine learning technique to build up a screen for collusive behavior. Such tools can be applied by competition authorities but also by companies to screen the behavior of their suppliers. The method is applied to the German retail gasoline market to detect anomalous behavior in the price setting of the filling stations. Therefore, the algorithm identifies anomalies in the data-generating process. The results show that various anomalies can be detected with this method. These anomalies in the price setting behavior are then discussed with respect to their implications for the competitiveness of the market.
    Keywords: Machine Learning, Cartel Screens, Fuel Retail Market
    JEL: C53 K21 L44
    Date: 2024

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