NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Amanda Y. Agan

Department of Economics
Rutgers University
75 Hamilton Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Tel: 848/932-8616

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NBER Program Affiliations: LS
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow

NBER Working Papers and Publications

September 2018The Minimum Wage, EITC, and Criminal Recidivism
with Michael D. Makowsky: w25116
For recently released prisoners, the minimum wage and the availability of state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs) can influence both their ability to find employment and their potential legal wages relative to illegal sources of income, in turn affecting the probability they return to prison. Using administrative prison release records from nearly six million offenders released between 2000 and 2014, we use a difference-in-differences strategy to identify the effect of over two hundred state and federal minimum wage increases, as well as 21 state EITC programs, on recidivism. We find that the average minimum wage increase of $0.50 reduces the probability that men and women return to prison within 1 year by 2.8%. This implies that on average the effect of higher wages, drawing at least some...
May 2018Is Your Lawyer a Lemon? Incentives and Selection in the Public Provision of Criminal Defense
with Matthew Freedman, Emily Owens: w24579
Governments in the U.S. must offer free legal services to low-income people accused of crimes. These services are frequently provided by assigned counsel, who handle cases for indigent defendants on a contract basis. Court-assigned attorneys generally garner worse case outcomes than privately retained attorneys. Using detailed court records from one large jurisdiction in Texas, we find that the disparities in outcomes are primarily attributable to case characteristics and within-attorney differences across cases in which they are assigned versus retained. The selection of low-quality lawyers into assigned counsel and endogenous matching in the private market contribute less to the disparities.
 
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