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Předmět, akademický rok 2023/2024
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Empirical Law and Economics - JEM126
Anglický název: Empirical Law and Economics
Zajišťuje: Institut ekonomických studií (23-IES)
Fakulta: Fakulta sociálních věd
Platnost: od 2023
Semestr: letní
E-Kredity: 5
Způsob provedení zkoušky: letní s.:kombinovaná
Rozsah, examinace: letní s.:2/0, Zk [HT]
Počet míst: neomezen / neurčen (neurčen)
Minimální obsazenost: neomezen
4EU+: ne
Virtuální mobilita / počet míst pro virtuální mobilitu: ne
Stav předmětu: nevyučován
Jazyk výuky: angličtina
Způsob výuky: prezenční
Způsob výuky: prezenční
Poznámka: předmět je možno zapsat mimo plán
povolen pro zápis po webu
při zápisu přednost, je-li ve stud. plánu
Garant: doc. Mgr. Bc. Libor Dušek, Ph.D.
Vyučující: doc. Mgr. Bc. Libor Dušek, Ph.D.
Třída: Courses for incoming students
Termíny zkoušek   Rozvrh   Nástěnka   
Anotace - angličtina
Poslední úprava: doc. Mgr. Bc. Libor Dušek, Ph.D. (09.02.2023)
The course presents advanced concepts, models, and recent empirical research in Law and Economics. It employs empirical techniques to analyze how legal rules affect the behavior of people and firms, how they affect market outcomes, and how they compare in terms of economic efficiency. Most of the focus is on the economic analysis of crime and law enforcement.

While the course is primarily empirical, strong emphasis is placed on the link between theory and empirical work. Throughout the course, we will show applications of micro-econometric empirical strategies (e.g., difference-in-differences, regression discontinuity) that estimate causal effects of legal rules on economic outcomes. The students will see their use in actual research, the links with theory, and should learn how to think critically about the limitations of empirical studies. The course is thus complementary to applied micro courses (Labor, Health, Public Finance) and to econometrics courses (Applied Microeconometrics, Health Econometrics).

The class is taught in person (only).
Podmínky zakončení předmětu - angličtina
Poslední úprava: doc. Mgr. Bc. Libor Dušek, Ph.D. (09.02.2023)

 Course completion requirements:

To pass the course students need to:

- Complete three home assignments. These consist typically of econometrics exercises, replicating research on actual data.

- Write a referee report on a working paper (to show the ability to critically assess empirical research).

Literatura - angličtina
Poslední úprava: doc. Mgr. Bc. Libor Dušek, Ph.D. (09.02.2023)


The class is based on original papers, hence there is no single textbook. The books below summarize the literature and provide a guide to other topics.



Polinsky, M.A. and Shavell, S.: Handbook of Law and Economics Volume 1-2, North-Holland 2007.

Buonanno, P., Vanin, P., & Vargas, J. (Eds.). (2022). A Modern Guide to the Economics of Crime. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Cooter, R. and Ulen, T: Law and Economics, 6th edition, Prentice Hall 2016.

Winter, H.: The Economics of Crime: An Introduction to rational crime analysis, Routledge 2008

Levitt, S. D., & Dubner, S. J. (2005). Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. Willam Morrow.

Angrist, J. D., & Pischke, J. S. (2008). Mostly harmless econometrics. Princeton University Press.

Epstein, L., & Martin, A. D. (2014). An introduction to empirical legal research. Oxford University Press.


Key papers for each topic:

Economics of crime: theory

* Becker, Gary S.: Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach, Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 76 (2), 1968: 169-217.

Polinsky, A. M., & Shavell, S. (2007). The theory of public enforcement of law. Handbook of law and economics1, 403-454.

Miceli, T. J. (2012). Deterred or detained? A unified model of criminal punishment. Review of Law & Economics8(1), 1-20.


Economics of crime: estimating general deterrence

Levitt, S. D., & Miles, T. J. (2007). Empirical study of criminal punishment. Handbook of law and economics1, 455-495.

Ehrlich, Isaac.: Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation, The Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 81, No.3, 1973.

Cornwell, C., & Trumbull, W. N. (1994). Estimating the economic model of crime with panel data. The Review of economics and Statistics, 360-366.

Levitt, S. D.: Juvenile Crime and Punishment, Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 106, 1998, 1156-1185.

* Kessler, P. and S. Levitt: Using Sentence Enhancements to Distinguish Between Deterrence and Incapacitation, Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 42 (1), 1999: 343-363

Shepherd, J. M. (2002). Police, Prosecutors, Criminals, and Determinate Sentencing: The Truth about Truth‐in‐Sentencing Laws. Journal of Law and Economics, 45(2), 509-533.

Dušek, L.: Crime, deterrence, and democracy, German Economic Review, Vol. 13 No. 4 (2012), pp. 447–469.

* Drago, F, R. Galbiati, and P. Vertova: The deterrent effects of prison: Evidence from a natural experiment, J of Political Economy 2009.

Kilmer, B., & Midgette, G. (2020). Criminal deterrence: Evidence from an individual‐level analysis of 24/7 Sobriety. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management39(3), 801-834.


The effect of police on crime

* Levitt, S. D: Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime, American Economic Review, Vol. 87 (3), 1997: 270-290.

Owens, Emily G., and William N. Evans: COPS and crime, Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 91, 2007, 181-201.

* Draca, M, S. Machin and R. Witt: Panic on the Streets of London: Police, Crime, and the July 2005 Terror Attacks, American Economic Review 2011.

DiTella, S. and Shargrodsky, E: Do Police Reduce Crime? Estimates Using the Allocation of Police Forces After a Terrorist Attack, American Economic Review 2004.

* Weisburd, S. (2021). Police presence, rapid response rates, and crime prevention. Review of Economics and Statistics103(2), 280-293.

Mastrobuoni, G. (2017). Crime is terribly revealing: Information technology and police productivity. Working paper https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2989914


Economics of crime: estimating specific deterrence

* Hansen, Benjamin. "Punishment and Deterrence: Evidence from Drunk Driving." The American Economic Review 105, no. 4 (2015): 1581-1617.

* Dusek, L. and Traxler, C. (2022): Learning from Law Enforcement, Journal of the European Economic Association, forthcoming.

* Bhuller, M., Dahl, G. B., Løken, K. V., & Mogstad, M. (2016). Incarceration, Recidivism and Employment. NBER Working Paper, (w22648).

Chen, M.K., and J. Shapiro: Do Harsher Prison Conditions Reduce Recidivism? A Discontinuity-based Approach, American Law and Economics Review 2007

Nagin, D. S., & Snodgrass, G. M. (2013). The effect of incarceration on re-offending: Evidence from a natural experiment in Pennsylvania. Journal of Quantitative Criminology.

Giles, T. (2021): The (Non)Economics of Criminal Fines and Fees, working paper, available at https://sites.google.com/view/tylergiles/research


Abortion and crime

* Donohue, J. and Steve Levitt: Legalized Abortion and Crime, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 116 (2), 2001: 379-420.

* Foote, Ch. L. and Christopher Goetz: Testing Economic Hypothesis with State-Level Data: A Comment on Donohue and Levitt (2001), Federal Reserve Bank of Boston working paper No. 05-15, 2005.

* Donohue, J. and Steve Levitt: Measurement Error, Legalized Abortion, the Decline in Crime: A Response to Foote and Goetz (2005), unpublished manuscript, 2005.

Joyce, T.: Did Legalized Abortion Lower Crime? Journal of Human Resources, Vol. 39 (1), 2004: 1-28.

Donohue, J. and Steve Levitt: Further Evidence That Legalized Abortion Lowered Crime: A Reply to Joyce, Journal of Human Resources, Vol. 39 (1), 2004: 29-49.

Pop-Eleches, C. (2006). The impact of an abortion ban on socioeconomic outcomes of children: Evidence from Romania. Journal of Political Economy114(4), 744-773.

Hjalmarsson, R., Mitrut, A., & Pop-Eleches, C. (2021). The impact of abortion on crime and crime-related behavior. Journal of Public Economics200, 104468.


Field experiments in law enforcement

Green, D. P., & Thorley, D. R. (2014). Field experimentation and the study of law and policy. Annual Review of Law and Social Science10, 53-72.

* Banerjee, A., Duflo, E., Keniston, D., & Singh, N. (2019). The efficient deployment of police resources: theory and new evidence from a randomized drunk driving crackdown in India (No. w26224). NBER working paper.

* Weisburd, D., Einat, T., & Kowalski, M. (2008). The Miracle of the Cells: An Experimental Study of Interventions to Increase Payment of Court‐Ordered Financial Obligations. Criminology & Public Policy, 7(1), 9-36.

Drápal, J., & Šoltés, M. (2021). Sentencing Decisions Around Quantity Thresholds: Theory and Experiment. Available at SSRN 386263.

Dusek, L., Pardo, N., & Traxler, C. (2020). Salience, incentives, and timely compliance: Evidence from speeding tickets. MPI Collective Goods Discussion Paper, (2020/9).

Linos, E., Quan, L. T., & Kirkman, E. (2020). Nudging early reduces administrative burden: Three field experiments to improve code enforcement. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management39(1), 243-265.


Forensic economics

* Jacob, B. A. and Steve Levitt: Rotten Apples: An Investigation of the Prevalence and Predictors of Teacher Cheating. Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 118 (3), 2003: 843-877.

* Palguta, J., & Pertold, F. (2017). Manipulation of procurement contracts: Evidence from the introduction of discretionary thresholds. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy9(2), 293-315.

Svensson, J. and Ritva Reinika: Local capture: Evidence from a central government transfer program in Uganda, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 119 (2), 2004: 678-704.

Ferraz, C., & Finan, F. (2011). Electoral accountability and corruption: Evidence from the audits of local governments. The American Economic Review, 101(4), 1274-1311.

Wolfers, J., 2006. Point shaving: Corruption in NCAA basketball. American Economic Review, 96(2), pp.279-283.

Travova, E. (2019). Under pressure? performance evaluation of police officers as an incentive to cheat: Evidence from drug crimes in russia. Performance Evaluation of Police Officers as an Incentive to Cheat: Evidence from Drug Crimes in Russia (May 30, 2019). CERGE-EI Working Paper Series, (637).

* Kleven, H. J. (2016). Bunching. Annual Review of Economics, 8, 435-464.


Behavior of judges, policemen, and prosecutors

* Andreoni, James: Reasonable doubt and the optimal magnitude of fines: should the punishment fit the crime?RAND Journal of Economics, Vol. 22 (3), 1991: 385-395.

Bjerk, David: Making the crime fit the penalty: The role of prosecutorial discretion under mandatory minimum sentencing, Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 48 (2), 2005: 591-625.

* Macdonald, D. C. (2020). Truth in sentencing, incentives and recidivism. Working paper, Vancouver School of Economics, University of British Columbia.

Baicker, K., & Jacobson, M. (2007). Finders keepers: Forfeiture laws, policing incentives, and local budgets. Journal of Public Economics91(11-12), 2113-2136.

Ater, I., Givati, Y., & Rigbi, O. (2014). Organizational structure, police activity and crime. Journal of Public Economics115, 62-71.

Petkun, J. (2021). Nudges for Judges: The Effects of the “Six-Month” List on Federal Civil Justice. Working paper.

Yang, C. S. (2016). Resource constraints and the criminal justice system: Evidence from judicial vacancies. American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 8(4), 289-332.

Engel, C., & Weinshall, K. (2020). Manna from Heaven for Judges: Judges’ Reaction to a Quasi‐Random Reduction in Caseload. Journal of Empirical Legal Studies17(4), 722-751.

Dimitrova-Grajzl, V., Grajzl, P., Sustersic, J., and Zajc, K. (2012). Court output, judicial staffing, and the demand for court services: Evidence from Slovenian courts of first instance. International Review of Law and Economics, Vol. 32 (1), pp. 19-29.


Other resources:

https://www.probablecausation.com/ Podcast by prof. Jennifer Doleac featuring the newest research by Law & Economics and Crime scholars.

https://www.elsblog.org Empirical Legal Studies blog by top U.S. scholars in the field

Sylabus - angličtina
Poslední úprava: doc. Mgr. Bc. Libor Dušek, Ph.D. (09.02.2023)

Course contents:

1.      Economics of crime: theory

2.      Economics of crime: estimating the causal effects

         a) General deterrence

         b) The effect of police on crime

         c) Specific deterrence

         d) Abortion and crime: a case study on the evolution of knowledge through empirical research

3.      Field experiments in law enforcement

4.      Forensic economics

5.      Behavior of judges, police officers, and prosecutors

         a) Offsetting responses to punishment

         b) Responses to incentives. 

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