Jurisdiction, Crime, and Development: The Impact of Public Law 280 in Indian Country

Law & Society Review, Vol. 48, Issue 1, 2014

Posted: 22 Feb 2014

See all articles by Valentina P. Dimitrova-Grajzl

Valentina P. Dimitrova-Grajzl

Virginia Military Institute

Peter Grajzl

Washington and Lee University - Department of Economics; CESifo

A. Joseph Guse

Washington and Lee University - Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 27, 2014

Abstract

Public Law 280 transferred jurisdiction over criminal and civil matters from the federal to state governments and increased the extent of nontribal law enforcement in selected parts of Indian country. Where enacted, the law fundamentally altered the preexisting legal order. Public Law 280 thus provides a unique opportunity to study the impact of legal institutions and their change on socioeconomic outcomes. The law's controversial content has attracted interest from legal scholars. However, empirical studies of its impact are scarce and do not address the law's endogenous nature. We examine the law's impact on crime and on economic development in U.S. counties with significant American-Indian reservation population. To address the issue of selection of areas subject to Public Law 280, our empirical strategy draws on the law's politico-historical context. We find that the application of Public Law 280 increased crime and lowered incomes. The law's adverse impact is robust and noteworthy in magnitude.

Keywords: Public Law 280, jurisdiction, crime, economic development, Indian country

JEL Classification: H10, K42, O17, P48

Suggested Citation

Dimitrova-Grajzl, Valentina P. and Grajzl, Peter and Guse, A. Joseph, Jurisdiction, Crime, and Development: The Impact of Public Law 280 in Indian Country (January 27, 2014). Law & Society Review, Vol. 48, Issue 1, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2398990

Valentina P. Dimitrova-Grajzl

Virginia Military Institute ( email )

Department of Economics and Business
Scott Shipp Hall
Lexington, VA 24450
United States

Peter Grajzl (Contact Author)

Washington and Lee University - Department of Economics ( email )

Lexington, VA 24450
United States

HOME PAGE: http://home.wlu.edu/~grajzlp/

CESifo ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

A. Joseph Guse

Washington and Lee University - Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics ( email )

Lexington, VA 24450
United States

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