Legal and Illegal Careers

Legal and Illegal Careers

XV European Conference

22 June 2013


The XV European Conference of the Fondazione Ing. Rodolfo Debenedetti dealt with legal and illegal careers issue.

The conference has been held in Reggia di Caserta on June 22, 2013.
The audience has been welcomed by Carlo De Benedetti (President, Fondazione RDB) and Carmela Pagano (Prefect of Caserta).
During the day, two reports have been presented:
  • The first report “Immigration Policy and Crime” investigates the effects of legal status on the behavior of immigrants in Italy and in the United States, focusing in particular on criminal activity. The study documents the large differences existing between legal and illegal immigrants in terms of criminal behavior, and it will assess which part of such differences can be attributed to the causal effect of legal status (as opposed to the voluntarily or involuntarily selection of different individuals into legal status). For the case of Italy, this is achieved by exploiting detailed micro-data on the criminal careers of the applicants for legal status at the so-called “click-day” of December 2007. By comparing the subsequent criminal activity of individuals that had the application accepted or rejected just for a matter of minutes (or seconds), the authors are able to identify the policy effect of migration restrictions on criminal behavior. The primary goal of this empirical analysis consists indeed in estimating policy effects that will be useful to evaluate different migration policies. The report is coordinated by Paolo Pinotti (Università Bocconi). Other participants to the research team are Joshua Angrist (MIT), Francesco Fasani (IAE-CSIC nad Barcelona GSE), Ludovica Gazzè (MIT) and Marco Tonello (Bank of Italy).
    The report will be discussed by Steve Machin (University College London e Research Director of Center Economic Performance – London School of Economics) and Nicola Persico (Kellogg School of Management).
  • The second report “Criminal Careers”, coordinated by Giovanni Mastrobuoni (Collegio Carlo Alberto, Moncalieri) jointly with Emily Owens (Cornell University), provides new insight on criminal careers using data collected thanks to the Police of Milan and Italian Prison Administration. The police data contain information on the expected costs (sanctions) and expected benefits (loot) of robberies against business, as well as a through description of such criminal acts. Moreover, the police data allow to link all robberies committed by the same criminal group, regardless of whether an arrest was made, allowing for the analysis of criminal behavior in a whole neew dimension, namely time. This administrative data set provides a unique opportunity to generate a detailed description of the productivity of criminal firms, and of how law enforcement and victims combat such firms. Mastrobuoni and Owens complement their analysis of the life cycle and productivity of criminal firms with an individual level analysis of criminal careers, using detailed lifetime incarceration data for more than 6000 criminals who were incarcerated in two Milan prisons between 2002 and 2011.
    The report will be discussed by Michele Polo (Director IEFE, Università Bocconi) and Randi Hjalmarsson (Queen Mary, University of London).

Following, the panel discussion “What did we learn?” chaired by Tito Boeri (Fondazione Ing. Rodolfo Debenedetti, Università Bocconi), with the Ministry for Integration Cécile Kyenge, Corrado Lembo (District Attorney, Santa Maria Capua Vetere), Luigi Pistaferri (Stanford University) and Annamaria Rufino (Seconda Università degli Studi di Napoli).

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