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Title:Three essays on public policy and safety
Author(s):Sarmiento Barbieri, Ignacio
Director of Research:Albouy, David
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):McMillen, Daniel
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Koenker, Roger; Bernhardt, Daniel
Department / Program:Economics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):public goods
urban development
police deployment
public schools
educational outcomes
Abstract:This dissertation consists on three chapters that study how public policies affects safety, and their economic consequences. In the first chapter entitled “Unlocking Amenities: Estimating Public Good Complementarity” we explore the implications of public goods complementarities for economic valuation and efficient public investment. We focus on the setting of public safety and open space in inner cities. Research on public goods generally considers the value of individual public goods in isolation, when in fact there may be strong complementarities between them. Cross-sectional, difference-in-difference, and instrumental-variable estimates from Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia all indicate that local crime lowers the amenity value of public parks to nearby residents. Public safety improvements “unlock” the value of open-space amenities, and could raise the value that properties receive from adjacent parks from $10.5 Billion to $18.34 Billion in those three cities. Ignoring these complementarities risks over-estimating benefits in dangerous areas, under-estimating benefits in poor areas or conflating reduced amenity value with the preferences of local populations, and under-estimating benefits overall. The second chapter, titled “When the One-Armed Bandits Move in Next Door: The Effects of Access to Gambling on Crime”, examines the effects on crime and property values following state legislation in Illinois that legalized video gambling. At the same time, the legislation gave municipalities decision-making authority over whether to allow video gambling terminals within their local boundaries. Many jurisdictions adjacent to Chicago chose to allow the terminals, while the City of Chicago itself did not, thus creating a natural experiment with which to compare crime rates between areas closer to and farther from video gambling establishments. Using detailed incident-level crime data and a difference-in-differences strategy, we find that access to gambling increases property and violent crimes; that these crimes represent “new” rather than displaced incidents; and that the effects are persistent over time. The last chapter, “Do More Eyes on the Street Reduce Crime? Evidence from Chicago’s Safe Passage Program” focuses on the effects on safety and attendance of this program. Chicago’s Safe Passage program attempts to ensure the safety of student traveling to and from schools by placing civilian guards along specified routes. The program was launched during the 2009-2010 school year and was expanded to 140 schools by 2015-16. We use data from more than 10 years of geocoded Chicago police reports and school level data to analyze the Safe Passage program’s effects on crime rates and the rate of absenteeism from schools. Our findings suggest that the program is an efficient and cost effective alternative way of policing with direct effects on crime and student’s outcomes. Exploiting both spatial and temporal variation in the implementation of the program, we find that the presence of guards results in lower levels of crime, with violent crime declining by 14% on average. The rate of absenteeism is estimated to decline by 2.5 percentage points. We find no evidence of spillovers of crime to areas that are not along the Safe Passage routes.
Issue Date:2018-07-03
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Ignacio Sarmiento Barbieri
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-09-27
Date Deposited:2018-08

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