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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.