NBER Working Papers by Angela Dills

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Working Papers

June 2013Religiosity and State Welfare
with Rey Hernández-Julián: w19169
The Catholic sex abuse scandals reduced both membership and religiosity in the Catholic Church. Because government spending on welfare may substitute for the religious provision of social services, we consider whether this plausibly exogenous decline in religiosity affected several measures of the public taste towards government spending on welfare between 1990 and 2008. In places where there were more scandals, individuals state a preference for less government provision of social services. In contrast, a higher level of abuse is also associated with an increase in voting for Democratic candidates for President and state legislatures, and an increase in per capita government welfare spending, although this increase is insufficient to replace the decrease in Catholic-provided charity.


January 2008What Do Economists Know About Crime?
with Jeffrey A. Miron, Garrett Summers: w13759
In this paper we evaluate what economists have learned over the past 40 years about the determinants of crime. We base our evaluation on two kinds of evidence: an examination of aggregate data over long time periods and across countries, and a critical review of the literature. We argue that economists know little about the empirically relevant determinants of crime. Even hypotheses that find some support in U.S. data for recent decades are inconsistent with data over longer horizons or across countries. This conclusion applies both to policy variables like arrest rates or capital punishment and to less conventional factors such as abortion or gun laws. The hypothesis that drug prohibition generates violence, however, is generally consistent with the long times-series and cross-country fac...

Published: What Do Economists Know about Crime?, Angela K. Dills, Jeffrey A. Miron, Garrett Summers. in The Economics of Crime: Lessons for and from Latin America, Di Tella, Edwards, and Schargrodsky. 2010

May 2003Alcohol Prohibition and Cirrhosis
with Jeffrey K. Miron: w9681
This paper uses state-level data on cirrhosis death rates to examine the impact of state prohibitions, pre-1920 federal anti-alcohol policies, and constitutional prohibition on cirrhosis State prohibitions had a minimal impact on cirrhosis, especially during the pre-1920 period. Pre-1920 federal anti-alcohol policies may have contributed to the decline in cirrhosis that occurred before 1920, although other factors were likely substantial influences as well. Constitutional prohibition reduced cirrhosis by about 10-20 percent.

Published: Dills, Angela and Jeffrey K. Miron. “Alcohol Prohibition and Cirrhosis." American Law and Economics Review 6 (2004): 285-318. citation courtesy of

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