Identifying the Effect of Unemployment on Crime
AbstractIn this paper, we analyze the relationship between unemployment and crime. Using U.S. state data, we estimate the effect of unemployment on the rates of seven felony offenses. We control extensively for state-level demographic and economic factors and estimate specifications that include state-specific time trends, state effects, and year effects. In addition, we use prime defense contracts and a state-specific measure of exposure to oil shocks as instruments for unemployment rates. We find significantly positive effects of unemployment on property crime rates that are stable across model specifications. Our estimates suggest that a substantial portion of the decline in property crime rates during the 1990s is attributable to the decline in the unemployment rate. The evidence for violent crime is considerably weaker. However, a closer analysis of the violent crime of rape yields some evidence that the employment prospects of males are weakly related to state rape rates. Copyright 2001 by the University of Chicago.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Law & Economics.
Volume (Year): 44 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/
Other versions of this item:
- Raphael, Steven & WINTER-EBMER, RUDOLF, 1998. "Identifying the Effect of Unemployment on Crime," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt5hb4h56g, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
- Raphael, Steven & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 1999. "Identifying the Effect of Unemployment on Crime," CEPR Discussion Papers 2129, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies
- K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
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