The origins of political jurisdictions: Kinship and Inequality (with Gani Aldashev and Catherine Guirkinger)
Are common property rights and wealth inequality detrimental for technological adoption? (with Gani Aldashev and Catherine Guirkinger)
Disentangling political ideology from ethnic voting in Africa (with Ada Gonzalez-Torres)
When justice is hurried and when is it buried? Wealth inequality and the duration of cases in court (with Anastasia Antsygina)
Walking While Black: Racial Gaps in Hit-and-Run Cases (link) [working paper, under review] (with Matteo Sostero)
(TILEC Discussion Paper No. DP2020-019; with Matteo Sostero)
Is there a racial gap in the treatment of crime victims, and when does it first occur? We provide a causal test for racial gaps in victimization and clearance rates, using the unintentional nature of vehicle-pedestrian crashes: the victim’s race should not depend on the driver’s characteristics, conditional on location and time. We find that drivers in the U.S. flee more often if they hit a black pedestrian, and the clearance rates of hit-and-run cases are lower for black victims. The evidence points to out-group bias as a mechanism, but does not exclude different expectations of punishment as another cause.
Presented at CEPR Women in Economics Workshop, RES2021, APPAM2020, TxECW 2020, SMYE (Brussels), SEG Lunch Meeting (Tilburg), EUI Applied Micro Seminar, and Tilburg Economics Workshop
(TILEC Discussion Paper No. 2022-016; with Tobias Klein, Jens Prüfer, and Patricia Prüfer)
Do some search engines produce better search results because their algorithm is better, or because they have access to more data from past searches? In the latter case, mandatory data sharing, a policy that is currently discussed, could trigger innovation and would benefit all users of search engines. We document that the algorithm of a small search engine can produce non-personalized results that are of similar quality than Google’s, if it has enough data, and that overall differences in the quality of search results are explained by searches for less popular search terms. This is confirmed by results from an experiment, in which we keep the algorithm of the search engine fixed and vary the amount of data it uses as an input.
Settlements under Unequal Access to Justice (link) [JEBO, 2021] (with Anastasia Antsygina)
A settlement among conflicting parties is usually regarded as an efficient solution to a judicial dispute, but settlements between the rich and the poor can also be a symptom of unequal access to justice. We develop a model of settlements that takes wealth disparity between the parties into account, as the defendant and the victim must exert costly effort in court. Richer litigants can drive a harder bargain, and achieve a more favorable settlement price (the price effect), but so can poorer litigants if they have connections or know the judicial system better, e.g., police officers. We provide empirical evidence consistent with the price effect using data on criminal traffic offenses in Russia, where the process allows for civil-style victim-defendant settlements. In line with the theoretical prediction, we find that law enforcement officers and government officials settle more often as defendants (and less often as victims) than their comparable wealth group. Other potential reasons, like judicial bias, fail to explain these differences. The price effect highlights the failure of the judicial system to provide equal justice.
Presented at the Micro and Macro Foundations of Conflict workshop (Bath), IOEA 2019, EconomiX Seminar (Paris Nanterre), HSE Economics Seminar (Moscow), NES Economics Brown Bag Seminar (Moscow), St Petersburg Economic Seminar (EUSP), TILEC workshop, EUI Applied Micro Seminar
Missing Rich Offenders: Traffic Accidents and the Impartiality of Justice (link) [Review of Law & Economics, 2018]
This paper estimates the effect that wealth and power have on criminal justice outcomes by exploiting the random matching of drivers to pedestrians in traffic accidents. If justice is impartial, we should observe the same share of rich offenders across victims of any wealth, conditional on location and time. Rich victims act as a control group to estimate the amount of missing rich offenders for poorer victims. I use this approach on the data from Russia, and find that its justice system is not impartial. The paper contributes methodologically to the literature by causally estimating the effect of wealth on justice.
Presented at CELS (Duke), SIOE (Montréal), Tilburg Economics Seminar, EUI Applied Micro Seminar
Newspaper column in Vedomosti (a leading independent business newspaper in Russia): on inequality in criminal justice (2017): https://www.vedomosti.ru/opinion/articles/2017/04/06/684386-zhiguli-protiv
Newspaper column in Vedomosti, on optimal deterrence of traffic offenses (2019): https://www.vedomosti.ru/opinion/articles/2019/03/28/797581-kak-zastavit