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The Criminal Justice Response to Policy Interventions: Evidence from Immigration Reform

Sarah Bohn, Matthew Freedman and Emily Owens ()

American Economic Review, 2015, vol. 105, issue 5, 214-19

Abstract: Changes in the treatment of individuals by the criminal justice system following a policy intervention may bias estimates of the effects of the intervention on underlying criminal activity. We explore the importance of such changes in the context of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). Using administrative data from San Antonio, Texas, we examine variation across neighborhoods and ethnicities in police arrests and in the rate at which those arrests are prosecuted. We find that changes in police behavior around IRCA confound estimates of the effects of the policy and its restrictions on employment on criminal activity.

JEL-codes: J15 J18 K42 R23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.p20151042
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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:105:y:2015:i:5:p:214-19