Working Papers

We analyze the impact on crime of 3.7 million refugees who entered and stayed in Turkey as a result of the civil war in Syria. Using a novel administrative data source on the flow of offense records to prosecutors’ offices in 81 provinces of the country each year, and utilizing the staggered movement of refugees across provinces over time, we estimate instrumental variables models that address potential endogeneity of the number of refugees and their location, and find that an increase in the number of refugees leads to more crime. We estimate that the influx of refugees between 2012 and 2016 generated additional 75,000 to 150,000 crimes per year, although it is not possible to identify the distribution of these crimes between refugees and natives. Additional analyses reveal that low-educated native population has a separate, but smaller, effect on crime. We also highlight the pitfalls of employing incorrect empirical procedures and using poor proxies of criminal activity which produce the wrong inference about the refugee-crime relationship. Our results underline the need to quickly strengthen the social safety systems, to take actions to dampen the impact on the labor market, and to provide support to the criminal justice system in order to mitigate the repercussions of massive influx of individuals into a country, and to counter the social and political backlash that typically emerges in the wake of such large-scale population movements.

We provide the first analysis of racial in-group bias in Type-I and Type-II errors. Using player-referee matched data from NBA games we show that there is no overall racial bias or in-group bias in foul calls made by referees. Similarly, there is no racial bias or in-group bias in Type-I errors (incorrect foul calls). On the other hand, there is significant in-group favoritism in Type-II errors. These are wrongful acquittals where the referee did not blow the whistle although a foul was committed. Although higher error rates during the season lower referees’ probability to be selected to officiate games in the playoffs, month-to-month adjustment in behavior takes place only in more visible and consequential Type-I errors. Each game is officiated by a crew of 3 referees. When we analyze peer effects, we find a pattern consistent with the critical mass hypothesis. Black referees’ proclivity to make Type-II errors in favor of black players exists unless black referees have two white peers with them on the court. In-group favoritism of white referees emerges when they have two black peers. We provide evidence showing that the results are not attributable to skill differences between referees.

This paper examines the impact of school accountability on adult crime and economic self-su¢ ciency. We employ a unique source of linked administrative data and perform a regression discontinuity analysis. Our Öndings indicate that a schoolís receipt of a lower accountability rating, at the bottom end of the ratings distribution, decreases adult criminal involvement. Accountability pressures also reduce the propensity of studentsíreliance on social welfare programs in adulthood and these e§ects persist at least until when individuals reach their early 30s. Further examination reveals that our results are consistent with an explanation related to improvements in human capital accumulation.

Although there exists a large literature analyzing whether an individualís peers have an impact on that individualís own behavior and subsequent outcomes, there is paucity of research on whether peers ináuence a personís decisions and judgments regarding a third party. We investigate whether consequential decisions made by judges are impacted by the gender composition of these judgesípeer group. We utilize the universe of decisions on juvenile defendants in each courthouse in Louisiana between 1998 and 2012. Leveraging random assignment of cases to judges, and variations in judge peer composition generated by elections, retirements, deaths and resignations, we show that an increase in the proportion of female peers in the courthouse causes a rise in individual judgesípropensity to incarcerate, and an increase in the assigned sentence length. This e§ect is driven by female judges. We also demonstrate that the impact of proportion of female peers is not a proxy for other peer characteristics such as race and age. Further analysis suggests that this behavior of female judges is unlikely to be a reáection of an e§ort to conform to evolving norms of judicial stringency, measured by peersíharshness in sentencing, but that it is due to the sheer exposure to female colleagues.

In most countries, Parliamentary immunity protects lawmakers from civil or criminal charges while in office, and it shields them from prosecution for their political speech or political actions. This paper presents the first empirical analysis in the literature of the impact of Parliamentary immunity on the behavior and performance of politicians. Leveraging a Constitutional Amendment, the adoption of which lifted the immunity of 24 percent of the Members of the Turkish Parliament (MPs), we find that immunity from prosecution impacts how the MPs act and perform their duties in the Parliament. Losing immunity pacifies the MPs of the opposition parties, who become less diligent in the Parliament(drafting fewer pieces of legislation, initiating fewer investigation inquiries, delivering fewer and shorter speeches) and become less aggressive (interrupting other MPs less frequently). They also reduce their tendency to cast dissenting votes against the government. These MPs are less likely to get re-nominated by their parties in the next election, and they are less likely to get re-elected. We find no evidence that more outspoken and active opposition MPs or those who are more valuable for their parties have been targeted for immunity revocation. The results are robust to limiting the analysis to the sample of opposition MPs who had the same intensity of pre-treatment Parliamentary activity. There is no evidence that the MPs, who retained immunity, have increased their Parliamentary efforts in reaction to their same-party colleagues losing immunity. We find that laws are passed faster after the Constitutional Amendment was adopted, possibly as a consequence of reduced opposition and deliberation. Using Euro barometer surveys, we find that citizens’ reactions to the revocation of MP immunity are polarized. An individual’s trust in the Parliament is lower or higher based on whether an MP from the individual’s province lost immunity and if that MP subscribes to the same or opposing ideology as the individual.

At least one of every five marriages is consanguineous (between couples who are second cousins or closer) in the Middle East and North Africa, and the rate is higher than 50 percent in some parts of the world. Consanguineous marriage generates serious health problems for the offspring and constitutes an economic problem with its associated medical costs and the impact on human capital. The prevalence of consanguineous marriage and the resultant kinship networks can shape various dimensions of the society ranging from institutional structure to attitudes such as trust, individualism, and nepotism. Using data from Turkey and leveraging an education reform which increased mandatory schooling by three years, we find that the reform made women less likely to find consanguineous marriage as an acceptable practice, and that the reform reduced women’s propensity to marry a first cousin or a blood relative. Exposure to the reform altered women’s preferences in favor of personal autonomy. Women who are exposed to the reform are more likely to have met their husbands outside of family networks, they are less likely to get forced into marriage against their consent, and they are less likely to agree that only a son can ensure the continuation of the family blood line. These results indicate that educational attainment can alter behaviors and attitudes which may be rooted in culture.

Using information on more than 1,500 elected Members of the Parliament (MPs) and the votes received by political parties in five consecutive elections in Turkey (1991-2011), and exploiting the randomness generated by the seat allocation mechanism, we show that elected MPs are more likely to switch parties after an election if they faced electoral uncertainty and experienced a narrowly-won victory. A number of MP and party characteristics influence the decision to switch. Politicians switch parties after an election to improve their ex-ante re-election probability in the following election, and party-switching MPs are more likely to get elected in the next election. MPs switch parties to move towards the median voter. These results point to forward looking opportunistic behavior of politicians regarding their strategy to win future elections to have a longer tenure in the Parliament.