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Title: Empirical essays on the economics of public policy
Author: Jaitman, L. G.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5352 0923
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis addresses highly relevant institutional reforms and policies that are of great public concern both in the developing and developed world. It comprises three empirical essays that analyse the impact of institutional arrangements on outcomes of interest. First, the thesis studies the effect of voting laws in terms of equity and its implications for electoral participation. Then it analyses a sentencing reform: the effect of tougher sanctions on crime. Finally, it studies an immigration reform (the recent expansion of the EU) and its impact on crime. The main difficulty to empirically analyse these type of questions is finding a suitable identification strategy to address the causal effect of institutional arrangements on outcomes of interest. In the three papers different advanced micro-econometric techniques are employed in natural experiments or quasi-experimental settings to circumvent this main identification problem of causal inference. The essays show that the institutional reforms studied have important effects on relevant outcomes that are crucial for assessing issues related to governance and crime patterns. Voters are rational and respond to electoral arrangements and therefore the composition of the electorate is deeply affected by electoral laws. Criminals also seem to act rationally and strategically and respond to tougher sanctions, choosing when and which types of crimes to commit. And when exploring the effect of a big immigration wave, this thesis finds that unlike what public opinion seems to claim, there is no conclusive evidence that immigration causes crime in the last decade in UK. There are still many avenues for future research on the economics of public policies, that are critical for the understanding of the behaviour of citizens and the political economy governing collective action.
Supervisor: Machin, S. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available