ECON 4494W — Assignment 3

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One of the most fundamental ideas in economics is that of unintended consequences.  Economists are always alert to the possibility that, because economic agents are always adapting, the ultimate effects of a policy intervention may be diverted from the intended result -- or there may indeed be no effects at all.  Our next speaker, Nishith Prakash, will talk about this issue in the context of policing policy.  It makes sense to think that one way to reduce the overall level of crime would be to target policing to areas known to have high crime.  If economic agents -- the criminals -- can adapt, what might be the unintended effects of this policy?  More interestingly, how would we have to design a study to capture these unintended effects?  Are there alternative policies that might work better?  Your assignment is to focus in on one or more of these questions.  Here are a couple of references to get you started, but I would also like you to find at least one reference on your own.

Christopher Blattman, Donald Green, Daniel Ortega, and Santiago Tobón, "Place-Based Interventions at Scale: the Direct and Spillover Effects of Policing and City Services on Crime," NBER Working Paper No. 23941, September 2018.

Jordi Blanes i Vidal and Giovanni Mastrobuoni, "Police Patrols and Crime," Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Discussion Paper No. 11393 (2018).

Due: March 3