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The Effect of Crime on Life Satisfaction

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  • Mark A. Cohen

Abstract

Crime often ranks at the top of public concern, and a majority of the public report they sometimes worry about crime. Yet we know little about crime's impact on day-to-day quality of life. This paper provides new evidence on crime's effect on life satisfaction using a combination of victimization and subjective survey data. I find that county-level crime rates and perceived neighborhood safety have little impact on overall life satisfaction. In contrast, the effect of a home burglary on life satisfaction is quite large-nearly as much as moving from excellent health to good health. In monetary terms, I estimate a compensating income equivalent of nearly $85,000 for a home burglary. Thus, while being burglarized has a large and significant effect on a victim's overall life satisfaction, neither county-level crime rates nor neighborhood safety appear to have very large effects on daily life satisfaction for the average American. (c) 2008 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved..

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File URL: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/pdf/10.1086/588220
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Legal Studies.

Volume (Year): 37 (2008)
Issue (Month): S2 (06)
Pages: S325-S353

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:37:y:2008:i:s2:p:s325-s353

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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLS/

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Cited by:
  1. Masanori Kuroki, 2013. "Crime Victimization and Subjective Well-Being: Evidence from Happiness Data," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 783-794, June.
  2. Paul Dolan & Daniel Fujiwara & Robert Metcalfe, 2011. "A Step towards Valuing Utility the Marginal and Cardinal Way," CEP Discussion Papers dp1062, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Douhou, Salima & Van Soest, Arthur, 2013. "Explaining subjective well-being: The role of victimization, trust, health, and social norms," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 52-78.
  4. Carlos Medina & Jorge Andrés Tamayo Author-Email jtamayca@banrep.gov.co, . "An Assessment of How Urban Crime and Victimization Affects Life Satisfaction," Borradores de Economia 640, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
  5. Carlos Medina & Christian Posso & Jorge Andrés Tamayo, 2011. "Costos de la violencia urbana y políticas públicas: algunas lecciones de Medellín," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 009076, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
  6. Pedersen, Peder J. & Schmidt, Torben Dall, 2009. "Happiness in Europe: Cross-Country Differences in the Determinants of Subjective Well-Being," IZA Discussion Papers 4538, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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