Development Economics, Political Economy, Natural Resources and Applied Econometrics.
Work in Progress
Convicting Corrupt Officials: Evidence from Randomly Assigned Cases
The Get Out of Jail Card: The Effect of Political Office on Court Rulings
The Political Economy of Coastal Waters
Extractive Industries, Production Shocks and Criminality
Abstract: The role of extractive industries for development is highly debated. A large literature focusing on countries with weak institutions has shown that such industries can spur conflict and war by providing appropriable resources. This study investigates whether this relationship holds true later in the development process. More specifically, we examine whether the extensive mining industry in South Africa affects local property and violent crime. To estimate the causal effect, our empirical strategy exploits local production changes caused by fluctuations in international mineral prices. In contrast to earlier studies, we find that an increase in mining activity lowers the local crime rate. Several tests suggest that this effect is driven by better income opportunities, affecting the opportunity cost of engaging in criminal activity. In order for this effect to materialize, local institutional quality needs to be sufficiently high. If such conditions are met, the appropriation channel emphasized in the earlier literature is dominated by the change in opportunity costs of crime.
Income Opportunities and Sea Piracy in Indonesia: Evidence from Satellite Data,
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 8(2):154-94, 2016.
Abstract: The effect of climatic variation on conflict and crime is well established, but less is known about the mechanism through which this effect operates. This study contributes to the literature by exploiting a new source of exogenous variation in climate to study the effect of fishermen's income opportunities on sea piracy. Using satellite data to construct a monthly measure of local fishing conditions it is found that better income opportunities reduce piracy. A wide range of approaches are employed to ensure that these effects are driven by income opportunities rather than other mechanisms through which climate could affect piracy.