Policy Paper (ECONOMICS)

| May 21, 2015

The Crimes and Other Legislation Amendment (Assault and Intoxication) Act 2014 introduced an eight year mandatory minimum sentence for individuals convicted under the new “one punch law” plus new mandatory minimum sentences for violent assaults where intoxicated by drugs and/or alcohol. Write a policy paper as described above evaluating these sentencing enhancements supporting your arguments with previous research studying the effects of sentence enhancements and minimum mandatory sentences on important outcomes.
This paper is neither an academic article or a literature review. Your arguments should rely on solid empirical evidence from academic articles published in economic and law journals. Your policy paper will aim to guide Australian policy-makers considering changes to current laws. Assume that your audience is someone with a basic familiarity with the topic but is not an expert in the area (i.e. Ministers of State, members of Parlament, individuals working in the legal sector in NSW). The language used should be non-technical, easy-to-read, succinct, simple and clear.
Project Outline
Title: Defines a clear topic that is policy relevant. It can be phrased in the form of a question.

Elevator Pitch: 3-5 sentences outlining why the reader should care about the topic. What is the relevance for important outcomes in NSW?

Key findings: Bullet points listing up to 3 pros and 3 cons to the suggested policy change. Deliver the most important arguments in favor and against the policy issued raised. Should be clear and based on evidence reviewed in your paper.

Motivation: Introduce the topic and try to spark the reader’s interest (do not summarize results here).

Background: Briefly describe the policy or law change that you are evaluating. What changed? What were the rules before and what are the rules after. Only provide the necessary details about the policy you are evaluating. For example, you do not need to describe every thing that was changed in the IP reforms in 2013 if you choose the first topic just the rules related to making it harder to get patent protection.

Discussion of pros and cons: Discuss the policy issue using empirical evidence from relevant economic and law resources. The pros and cons listed in the “Key Findings” section should be described in detail here and it should be clear where the pros and cons come from. The arguments should be evidence-based.

Summary and policy advice: Provide a brief summary of the evidence presented. State your personal recommendation to NSW policy-makers based on whther the pro or con arguments prevail. Avoid sentences like “more research is needed”. This section should give a clear message to political decision makers.

Note: Both of these reforms were implemented, but you can think of both of these options as writing a policy paper to the decision-makers when they are considering making these changes to help inform their decision to implement the proposed Acts or not to implement the proposed Acts. Your advise should clearly be based on prior empirical evidence presented in papers by economists and legal scholars. The prior research could be Australia-specific, but most will be from evaluations of similar changes in other places around the world (most likely research using data from UK, other European countries, the US, Canada).

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