EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

The Political Cost of Being Soft on Crime: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

Francesco Drago, Roberto Galbiati and Francesco Sobbrio ()

No 6826, CESifo Working Paper Series from CESifo Group Munich

Abstract: We study voters’ response to criminal justice policies by exploiting a natural experiment. The Italian collective pardon, promoted and implemented by the national government in 2006, unexpectedly released about one third of the prison population. The collective pardon law created idiosyncratic incentives to recidivate across pardoned individuals. Municipalities where resident pardoned individuals had a higher incentive to recidivate experienced a higher recidivism rate. We show that in those municipalities voters “punished” the incumbent national government in the 2008 parliamentary elections. In particular, our estimates suggest that - in an average municipality – an additional crime by pardoned individuals led to a drop of 272 votes (1.77% of eligible voters) for the incumbent national government relative to the opposition coalition. We also provide evidence of newspapers being more likely to report crime news involving pardoned individuals and of voters hardening their views on the incumbent national government's ability to control crime. Our findings indicate that voters keep politicians accountable by conditioning their vote on the perceived effects of public policies.

Keywords: accountability; retrospective voting; natural experiment; crime; recidivism; media (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 K42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-law and nep-pol
Date: 2017
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
https://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp6826.pdf (application/pdf)

Related works:
Working Paper: The Political Cost of Being Soft on Crime: Evidence from a Natural Experiment (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: The Political Cost of Being Soft on Crime: Evidence from a Natural Experiment (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: The Political Cost of Being Soft on Crime: Evidence from a Natural Experiment (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: The Political Cost of Being Soft on Crime: Evidence from a Natural Experiment (2017) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6826

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in CESifo Working Paper Series from CESifo Group Munich Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Klaus Wohlrabe ().

 
Page updated 2019-09-12
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6826