Paolo Pinotti Awarded for His Impactful Research
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Paolo Pinotti Awarded for His Impactful Research

IN THE WINNING PAPER HE OBSERVED THAT IMMIGRANTS, WHEN LEGALIZED, COMMIT HALF THE CRIMES

A study on the fall of crime rates among the immigrants who gained legal status in Italy following the 2007 “click day” earned Paolo Pinotti the 2021 Bocconi Impact Award. The award winning paper is “Clicking on Heaven's Door: The Effect of Immigrant Legalization on Crime,” published in the American Economic Review, 107, 1 (2017): 138-168.
 
The award was established at Bocconi to stimulate the production of research relevant both to the scientific community and to society. Eligible works had to be published between 7 and 3 years ago. Bocconi Research Committee pre-selected 3 applications (shortlist), then an Alumni panel including Alessandro Bogliolo, Former CEO at Tiffany, Monica Mandelli, Managing Director at KKR, Barbara Cominelli, Country Manager Italia at JLL, took the final decision, with an overall judgement on publications’ reach and significance.
 
“Paolo Pinotti’s article studies a very relevant and hugely impactful topic to the society at all levels, with an extremely smart, practical and clear methodology, using the detailed data from the Ministry of Interior,” Bocconi Dean for Research, Jérôme Adda, said during the prize-giving ceremony.
 
Professor Pinotti came to his conclusions exploiting an odd feature of Italian law at that time, a dissemination story published on Bocconi Knowledge explains: fixed quotas of residence permits were available each year, and applications must be submitted electronically by employers on a specific “click day” and processed on a first come, first served basis until the available quotas were exhausted.
 
As immigrants were well aware of the first come, first served rule, they all rushed to submit their applications in the early morning of the click day and after a while the flow dried to nearly zero. In 2007 the “click day” started at 8:00am, the last accepted application was received by the servers in Milan at 8:27am. In his paper, Professor Pinotti compared crime rates of immigrants who sent their applications immediately before the cutoff hour and those who sent them immediately after. The result is that legalized immigrants’ crime rate fell by half in the following year, while the crime rate of those who hadn’t made it remained unchanged.
 
Paolo Pinotti is the holder of the Chair in Economic Analysis of Crime, financed by a donor who decided to remain anonymous, and the Director of CLEAN, Crime: Law and Economic Analysis, a research unit of the Baffi-CAREFIN research center which investigates criminal behavior employing detailed data and cutting-edge quantitative methods.
 

by Fabio Todesco
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