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Essays on Crime and Migration
2022, Zambiasi, Diego
The monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force is an essential feature of the state. This concept, often overseen in our daily life, becomes apparent to those who break the law and are forced to abide by it. Despite sounding like an authoritarian feature, the monopoly of the use of force by the state allowed nations to prosper. If states experience growth, if contracts can be signed and if we can trust each other, we | at least partially| owe it to the monopoly that the state has over the legitimate use of physical force. Countless studies in economics have stressed the importance of the Rule of Law for economic growth, but it is very difficult to imagine a situation in which there is a Rule of Law without a monopoly of the use of physical force by the state. Unfortunately, managing the monopoly of the use of physical force is an extremely challenging task. In practice, policy makers have to decide which laws to pass and which policies to implement, who enforces them, how to enforce them and how to punish individuals who do not abide by them. For the past three to four decades policy makers have been helped by researchers in taking informed decisions about these topics through what is known as evidence-based policymaking. In this thesis I aim at producing policy-relevant evidence with respect to two of the most debated topics in the current policy debate: crime and migration. My analysis proceeds through three different essays, that are independent from each other, but are linked by a common theme: the use of data and quasi-experimental research designs to answer policy-relevant questions.
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Drugs on the Web, Crime in the Streets - The Impact of Dark Web Marketplaces on Street Crime
2020-09, Zambiasi, Diego
The Dark Web has changed the way drugs are traded globally by shifting trade away from the streets and onto the web. In this paper, I study whether the Dark Web has an impact on street crime, a common side effect of traditional drug trade. To identify a causal effect, I use daily data from the US and exploit unexpected shutdowns of large online drug trading platforms. In a regression discontinuity design, I compare crime rates in days after the shutdowns to those immediately preceding them. I find that shutting down Dark Web markets leads to a significant increase in drug trade in the streets. However, the effect is short-lived. In the days immediately following shutdowns, drug-related crimes increase by five to almost ten percent but revert to pre-shutdown levels within ten days. I find no impact of shutdowns of Dark Web marketplaces on thefts, assaults, homicides and prostitution.