Research

Publications
"No Hatred or Malice, fear or affection": Media and sentencing Accepted Journal of Political Economy, (with Aurelie Ouss).
Economics of Crime prize, 6th Economics of Crime Transatlantic WorkshopFrench summary , Press: France cultureOuest France20 minutes

Does introducing lay people in criminal courts affect judicial decisions? Evidence from French reformInternational Review of Law and EconomicsVolume 52, October 2017, Page 1-15


Work in Progress


What is  the effect of incarcerating one member of a group on her criminal partners? I answer this question using administrative data on all convictions in France between 2003 and 2012. I exploit past joint convictions to identify 34,000 groups. Using a 48-month individual panel that records later criminal activity and sentencing, I find that the incarceration of a peer is associated with a 5% decrease in the conviction rate in groups of two individuals. Exploiting within-group heterogeneity, I show that offenders who have the characteristics of leaders are not affected by their followers but exert influence on them. Lastly, I show that the effect derives from lower criminogenic behavior and not from a loss of criminal human capital or from better information on the risks associated with crime.


We conduct a field experiment to assess the impact of two different interventions designed to reduce gender biases in student evaluations of teaching (SET). In the first intervention, students received a normative statement by email, essentially reminding them that they should not discriminate in SETs. In the second intervention, the normative statement was augmented with precise information on how other students in the exact same situation had discriminated against female teachers in the past. While the pure normative statement had no significant impact on SETs, the informative statement appears to have reduced gender biases against female teachers. This effect mainly comes from a change in male students’ evaluation of female teachers.


Jobs, News and Re-offending after Incarceration, with Roberto Galbiati and Aurelie Ouss, TSE Working paper n°17-843.
We study how local labor market conditions and information about jobs affect recidivism among former inmates. Our identification strategy exploits daily variations on new job vacancies and news coverage of job openings and closings at the county level, merged with individual-level administrative data on inmates released from French prisons. Overall job creations do not affect recidivism, but inmates released when more jobs in manufacturing are created are less likely to recidivate. We also show that media coverage of job creation reduces recidivism, beyond actual employment opportunities, suggesting implications for crime-control policies: information about employment contributes to reduce recidivism. 

We document judicial leniency on defendant birthdays across 5 million decisions. French sentences are 1% fewer and 3% shorter. U.S. federal sentences are 33% shorter in the day component of sentences (the month component remains unaffected). New Orleans sentences are 15% shorter overall. No leniency appears on the days before or after a defendant’s birthday. Federal judges using deterrence language in opinions, are unaffected, isolating the judicial as opposed to defendant channel. The effect is doubled when judge and defendant share the same race. Our courtroom setting rules out many models of social preferences with reciprocity motives.


Gender Bias in criminal justice, TSE working paper n°17-762.
This paper uses the universe of convictions occurred in France between 2000 and 2003 to document the gender gap in criminal justice. First, during this period, and after controlling for very precise description of the offenses as well as other observable characteristics, women get prison sentences 15 days shorter than men on average. This represents a 33% decrease in comparison to the average prison length in the sample (44 days). Second, this gender gap is also observed within pairs of criminals, each consisting of one man and one woman, who are convicted together, on the same day, by the same person and for the same crime. Lastly, this paper present robust evidences that the gender gap is affected by the judges' gender but not the prosecutors' gender. Using the evolution of courts' composition between 2000 and 2003, results show that a one-standard-deviation increase in the number of women in the court decreases the gender gap by 10%


Specific deterrence and learning
What effect do sentences have on recidivism and offenders’ understanding of criminal law? Using a natural experiment in France in which sentences were increased by 3.5 months of prison (+67%) and 4 months of probation (+285%) for a specific type of recidivism – new crimes similar to previous ones – I show that offenders convicted under the new law committed slightly fewer crimes in the 6 years after the trial, but mainly because of the incapacitation effect. This general effect hides a strategic reaction. Even if all offenders could be harshly sentenced under the law, those who experienced it significantly decreased their probability of committing a new crime similar to previous ones (-3.3 pp) but did not change their probability of committing other crimes (-0.3 pp non significant). These results are consistent with a strategic reaction to the reform based on a better understanding of criminal law.


How far do criminals understand the criminal law? Evidence from French mandatory sentencingTSE Working Papern° 17-864.
This paper documents how deeply and how quickly would-be offenders understand criminal law. It relies on a mandatory sentencing act against repeat offenders passed by the French parliament in August 2007. It exploits the gap between the public presentation of the law – an overall increase in the severity of sentences on repeat offenders – and the enforcement – an increase on a specific subgroup of repeat offenders. Using duration model and competitive risk analysis on individual data representing the universe of convictions that occurred in France during this period, this paper studies the evolution of the two instantaneous probabilities of committing a new crime targeted or not targeted by the law. The analysis shows that the law equally deterred targeted and untargeted crimes in the short term while only targeted behaviors remain affected in the medium term. These results provide evidence that even a strongly distorted presentation failed to mislead people for a long time. They are coherent with a learning effect of complex criminal law. This learning effect goes faster for more rational criminals or older offenders.


Local economic news and job search intensity, with Daphné Skandalis
This paper estimates the impact of media news reporting plants’ upsizing or downsizing associated with job creation (resp. job destruction) on the intensity of job search in France in 2010-2014. We collect micro data for connections to the online search platform from French public employment services, which covers up to 80% of all registered job seekers. We first build a novel indicator of search intensity for each departement based on the count of connections from job seekers living in the departement. We then estimate the impact of news about a plant located in one departement on local job search intensity, using a panel model at the calendar week and departement level. Controlling for location and time fixed effects, we find that job seekers immediately increase their search intensity in response to news about local job creation by approximately 0.3%. Symmetrically, news about job destruction have a negative effect on search activity of the same magnitude, but slightly less precisely estimated. We also detect a significant spillover reaction to news concerning plants from adjacent departements.


On-going projects
Judicial delegation: norms and capture, with David AbramsRoberto Galbiati and Emeric Henry  
Persistent norms, with Barbara Bauduin, Roberto Galbiati and Emeric Henry  
- The housewife trapwith Daphné Skandalis 
The Long-Run Effects of Criminal Justice Exposure on Trust in the Law and Perceptions of Legitimacy, with Daniel Chen

Publications in non academic journal
- Philippe, A. Vous jurez de n'écouter ni la haine ni la méchanceté... Les biais affectant les décisions de justice. Cahiers de la justice. Dalloz. 2015
- Galbiati, R. and Philippe, A. Enfermez-les tous! Dissuasion et effets pervers des politiques répressives. In "Lumière sur les économies souterraines": Regards Croisés sur l'Economie. March, 2014


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