Francesco Barilari

Francesco Barilari is a PhD Candidate in Economics at Trinity College Dublin and an Irish Research Council Awardee. In spring 2023 he visited the Department of Politics at New York University. He holds a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Bologna. With a keen interest in political economy and economic history, his research involves applying methods from applied microeconomics and machine learning to explore various research questions in these fields. His PhD thesis focuses particularly on the influence of political communication on the democratic process and its role in shaping societies.

How Political Campaign Rhetoric Against Drug Abuse Led to Racial Discrimination in Drug Arrests

In new research, Francesco Barilari and Diego Zambiasi study how President Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush’s rhetoric on the War on Drugs while on the campaign trail, particularly targeting crack cocaine abuse, was enough to alter policing policy. Specifically, the authors find that increased rhetoric led to an increase in arrests of Black Americans. Their study contributes to a literature on the material impact that political rhetoric can have on policing and public policy.

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