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What Accounts For The Decline In Crime?

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  • Ayse Imrohoroglu
  • Antonio Merlo
  • Peter Rupert

Abstract

In this article we analyze recent trends in aggregate property crime rates in the United States. We propose a dynamic equilibrium model that guides our quantitative investigation of the major determinants of observed patterns of crime. Our main findings can be summarized as follows: First, the model is capable of reproducing the drop in crime between 1980 and 1996. Second, the most important factors that account for the observed decline in property crime are the higher apprehension probability, the stronger economy, and the aging of the population. Third, the effect of unemployment on crime is negligible. Fourth, the increased inequality prevented an even larger decline in crime. Overall, our analysis can account for the behavior of the time series of property crime rates over the past quarter century. Copyright 2004 by the Economics Department Of The University Of Pennsylvania And Osaka University Institute Of Social And Economic Research Association.

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Article provided by Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association in its journal International Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 45 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 (08)
Pages: 707-729

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Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:45:y:2004:i:3:p:707-729

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  1. Kenneth Burdett & Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2002. "Crime, Inequality, and Unemployment, Second Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 03-029, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Sep 2003.
  2. Grogger, Jeff, 1998. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(4), pages 756-91, October.
  3. Isaac Ehrlich, 1996. "Crime, Punishment, and the Market for Offenses," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 43-67, Winter.
  4. Grogger, Jeffrey, 1995. "The Effect of Arrests on the Employment and Earnings of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(1), pages 51-71, February.
  5. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
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