NBER Publications by John MacDonald

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Working Papers and Chapters and Reporter Articles

June 2014An Experimental Evaluation of Notification Strategies to Increase Property Tax Compliance: Free-Riding in the City of Brotherly Love
with Michael Chirico, Robert P. Inman, Charles Loeffler, Holger Sieg
in Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 30, Jeffrey R. Brown, editor
This study evaluates a set of noti fication strategies intended to increase property tax collection. To test these strategies, we develop a fi eld experiment in collaboration with the Philadelphia Department of Revenue. The resulting noti fication strategies draw on core rationales for tax compliance: deterrence, the need to finance the provision of public goods and services, as well as an appeal to civic duty. Our empirical fi ndings provide evidence that carefully designed and targeted noti fication strategies can modestly improve tax compliance.
November 2012Does Mandatory Diversion to Drug Treatment Eliminate Racial Disparities in the Incarceration of Drug Offenders? An Examination of California's Proposition 36
with Nancy Nicosia, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula: w18518
Like other states, minorities are disproportionately represented in the California's state prison system, particularly for drug offenses. Unlike other states, California has had a policy of mandatory diversion to drug treatment for non-violent drug offenders since mid-2001 (Proposition 36). Using a rich dataset including current and prior criminal charges from 1995 through 2005 in California, we examine whether disparities in court dispositions to prison and drug treatment between White and Blacks male drug offenders are explained by observable case and criminal justice characteristics. We estimate the extent to which remaining observable disparities are affected by Proposition 36. We find that Black and White male drug offenders differ considerably on covariates, but by weighting on th...
August 2010The Role of Private Action in Controlling Crime
with Philip J. Cook
in Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs, Philip Cook, Jens Ludwig, Justin McCrary, editors
April 2010Public Safety through Private Action: An economic assessment of BIDs, locks, and citizen cooperation
with Philip J. Cook: w15877
Given the central role of private individuals and firms in determining the effectiveness of the criminal justice system, and the quality and availability of criminal opportunities, private actions arguably deserve a central role in the analysis of crime and crime prevention policy. But the leading scholarly commentaries on the crime drop during the 1990s have largely ignored the role of the private sector, as have policymakers. Among the potentially relevant trends: growing reporting rates (documented in this paper); the growing sophistication and use of alarms, monitoring equipment and locks; the considerable increase in the employment of private security guards; and the decline in the use of cash. Private actions of this sort have the potential to both reduce crime rates and reduce ar...

Published: The Role of Private Action in Controlling Crime, Philip J. Cook, John MacDonald. in Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs, Cook, Ludwig, and McCrary. 2011

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