Panel: The Intended and Unintended Consequences of Drug and Crime Interventions
(Crime, Justice, and Drugs)

Thursday, November 7, 2019: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM
Plaza Building: Lobby Level, Director's Row E (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizer:  Helen Ho, Harvard University
Panel Chair:  Ashna Arora, University of Chicago
Discussants:  Michael Makowsky, Clemson University and Steven Raphael, University of California, Berkeley

Policymakers, practitioners, and advocates with good intentions may support policies with unintended consequences. It is especially important to evaluate the unintended consequences of drug and crime interventions because public safety, public health, or the welfare of vulnerable populations are often at stake. For example, providing life-saving treatment during a drug overdose may increase drug use and drug-related crime (Doleac & Mukherjee, 2018). Or, placing people with a low risk of recidivism in intensive treatment might increase recidivism rather than reduce it (Bonta, Wallace-Capretta, & Rooney, 2000). The papers in this panel explore whether interventions in the crime and drug domains have unintended consequences, even if they are effective in their primary goals. Two of the papers estimate the effects of interventions that reduce the costs of using drugs. While these policies are intended to support public health or safety, they may worsen some health and safety outcomes. The other two papers examine phenomena relevant to improving relationships between the criminal justice system and civilians. One of these papers examines the effects of more customer-service oriented approaches to increasing court appearances. The second of these papers examines the effects of exposing the police to higher-stakes environments on arrests and use of force. This panel will prompt a deeper consideration of incentives and policy design to increase social welfare. In particular, these papers illuminate populations or areas where interventions may be detrimental or less effective.

Violence Against Police
CarlyWill Sloan, Texas A&M University

Reducing Failure to Appear with Reminders and Personalized Assistance
Natalia Emanuel and Helen Ho, Harvard University

Ban-the-Box and Cross-Border Spillovers
Anne Burton and David Wasser, Cornell University

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