nep-law New Economics Papers
on Law and Economics
Issue of 2024‒04‒22
seven papers chosen by
Yves Oytana, Université de Franche-Comté

  1. Community Engagement with Law Enforcement after High-profile Acts of Police Violence By Desmond Ang; Panka Bencsik; Jesse M. Bruhn; Ellora Derenoncourt
  2. Ban-the-Box Laws: Fair and Effective? By Robert Kaestner; Xufei Wang
  3. Effects of COVID-19 Shutdowns on Domestic Violence in the U.S. By Yutong Chen; Amalia R. Miller; Carmit Segal; Melissa K. Spencer
  4. Losing Medicaid and Crime By Monica Deza; Thanh Lu; Johanna Catherine Maclean; Alberto Ortega
  5. Under pressure: Victim withdrawal and police officer workload By Tom Kirchmaier; Ekaterina Oparina
  6. Easier Together: Shared Responsibility and Corruption By Yuliet Verbel
  7. Peer Effects on Violence: Experimental Evidence from El Salvador By Dinarte Diaz, Lelys

  1. By: Desmond Ang; Panka Bencsik; Jesse M. Bruhn; Ellora Derenoncourt
    Abstract: We document a sharp rise in gunshots coupled with declining 911 call volume across thirteen major US cities in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd. National survey data also indicate that victims of crime became less likely to report their victimization to law enforcement due to mistrust of police. Our results suggest that high-profile acts of police violence may erode community engagement with law enforcement and highlight the call-to-shot ratio as a natural measure of attitudes towards the police.
    JEL: K40
    Date: 2024–03
  2. By: Robert Kaestner; Xufei Wang
    Abstract: Ban-the-box (BTB) laws are a widely used public policy rooted in employment law related to unnecessarily exclusionary hiring practices. BTB laws are intended to improve the employment opportunities of those with criminal backgrounds by giving them a fair chance during the hiring process. Prior research on the effectiveness of these laws in meeting their objective is limited and inconclusive. In this article, we extend the prior literature in two ways: we expand the years of analysis to a period of rapid expansion of BTB laws and we examine different types of BTB laws depending on the employers affected (e.g., public sector). Results indicate that BTB laws, any type of BTB law or BTB laws covering different types of employers, have no systematic or statistically significant association with employment of low-educated men, both young and old and across racial and ethnic groups. We speculate that the lack of effectiveness of BTB laws stems from the difficulty in enforcing such laws and already high rates of employer willingness to hire those with criminal histories.
    JEL: J71
    Date: 2024–03
  3. By: Yutong Chen; Amalia R. Miller; Carmit Segal; Melissa K. Spencer
    Abstract: This chapter examines the impact of COVID-19 shutdowns on domestic violence (DV) in the United States. Despite widespread concerns that pandemic shutdowns could increase DV, initial studies found mixed evidence that varied across data sources and locations. We review the evolving literature on the effects of the pandemic and highlight results from studies that examine multiple measures of DV across a common set of large cities. These studies show that the conflicting early results are due to opposite effects of pandemic shutdowns on two measures of DV in police data: an increase in domestic violence 911 calls and a decrease in DV crime reports. In theory, this divergence can come from either higher DV reporting rates, possibly because of additional media attention to DV and greater third-party calling, or from lower policing intensity for DV crimes. Prior evidence from police data and other sources supports the conclusion that the increase in calls came from greater reporting, while the incidence of criminal DV decreased. Finally, we present new evidence drawing on police and hospitals records from across the state of California to show that DV crimes and hospital emergency department (ED) visits were both lower during pandemic shutdowns.
    JEL: I18 J12 J16 K42
    Date: 2024–03
  4. By: Monica Deza; Thanh Lu; Johanna Catherine Maclean; Alberto Ortega
    Abstract: We study the impact of losing health insurance on criminal activity by leveraging one of the most substantial Medicaid disenrollments in U.S. history, which occurred in Tennessee in 2005 and lead to 190, 000 non–elderly and non–disabled adults without dependents unexpectedly losing coverage. Using police agency–level data and a difference–in–differences approach, we find that this mass insurance loss increased total crime rates with particularly strong effects for non–violent crime. We test for several potential mechanisms and find that our results may be explained by economic stability and access to healthcare, in particular mental healthcare.
    JEL: I1 I12 I13
    Date: 2024–03
  5. By: Tom Kirchmaier; Ekaterina Oparina
    Abstract: This paper addresses the relationship between a police officer's workload and the likelihood of statement withdrawal of domestic abuse victims. We focus our analysis on high-risk cases reported to Greater Manchester Police from January 2014 to March 2019. Using this unique dataset, combined with institutional knowledge, we show that adding 10 more cases to a police officer's monthly workload is associated with an increase of the probability of statement withdrawal of 3 percentage points, or 17% of the average withdrawal rate in our sample. The increased workload is likely to be the outcome of a substantial reduction in the police budget, implying that this paper provides additional indirect evidence of the secondary costs of austerity policies.
    Keywords: workload, productivity, police, austerity
    Date: 2024–03–19
  6. By: Yuliet Verbel (University of Michigan)
    Abstract: When faced with the choice of behaving corruptly, are people more willing to accept a bribe or to embezzle money? Situations of bribery and embezzlement usually differ in their decision-making dynamics, with bribery requiring coordination between decision-makers (i.e., briber and bribee) while embezzlement does not require such coordination for a decision of corruption. This study makes use of outcome-equivalent games to examine participants’ willingness to engage in these two types of corruption. The results show people are more likely to undertake bribery than embezzlement, and this is attributed to the joint decision-making dynamic of bribery, which shapes the responsibility for the outcome of corruption to be shared between the decision-makers instead of concentrated as it is in a situation of embezzlement. In an additional experiment eliciting social norms related to bribery and embezzlement, I find a clear norm of no-corruption, which highlights a discrepancy between the perceived appropriateness of these situations and the actual behavior exhibited in them. I further find that the social appropriateness ratings for each type of corruption are not significantly different. My findings suggest that anticorruption efforts should account for factors that facilitate rule-breaking behavior, such as coordinated decisions that lead to shared responsibility for the outcome.
    Keywords: Bribery; Experiment; Embezzlement; Corruption
    Date: 2024–03
  7. By: Dinarte Diaz, Lelys (World Bank)
    Abstract: Globally, 150 million adolescents report being victims of or engaging in peer-to-peer violence in and around school. One strategy to reduce this risk is to occupy youth in after-school programs (ASP). Yet, the question remains: how does peer group composition affect the effectiveness of an ASP? I address this question by randomly assigning youths to either a control, homogeneous, or heterogeneous peer group within an ASP implemented in El Salvador. I find that, unlike homogeneous groups, heterogeneous peer groups do help students avoid violence. These results are relevant to public policy discussions on optimal group composition for violence reduction programs.
    Keywords: peer effects, violence, integration, tracking, after-school programs
    JEL: I29 K42 Z13
    Date: 2024–02

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