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Violent Crime, Entrepreneurship, and Cities

In: Cities and Entrepreneurship

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  • Stuart S. Rosenthal
  • Amanda Ross

Abstract

This paper estimates the impact of violent crime on the location of business activity and entrepreneurship in five US cities. Central to our analysis is the idea that different sectors of the economy will sort into high- and low-crime areas depending on their relative sensitivity to crime. We illustrate this by comparing retail industries to their wholesale counterparts, and high-end restaurants to low-end eateries. Because retail industries are dependent on pedestrian shoppers, they are expected to be especially sensitive to violent crime. Because high-end restaurants are dependent on evening business, they are expected to be especially sensitive to violent crime over the prime dinner hours. Findings indicate that retail, wholesale, high- and low-end restaurants are all more active in areas with higher local rates of violent crime, even after conditioning on an extensive set of model controls. This could arise because violent crime is attracted to our target industries. This also likely reflects that other sectors of the economy outbid our target industries for safer locations (e.g. residential). Further analysis confirms such sorting behavior. Retailers are more likely to locate in safer locations as compared to wholesalers in the same industry. Among restaurants, an increase in violent crime during the prime dinner hours equivalent to the sample max/min range would decrease the high-end share of local restaurants by roughly 40 percentage points. These findings indicate that entrepreneurs take violent crime into account when bidding for locations within a city. These finding also indicate that efforts to make distressed portions of cities more vibrant must give consideration to the need to ensure that such areas are safe.

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This chapter was published in:

  • Edward L. Glaeser & Stuart S. Rosenthal & William C. Strange, 2010. "Cities and Entrepreneurship," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number glae09-1, July.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 11899.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11899

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    References

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    1. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 1996. "Why is There More Crime in Cities?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1746, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    2. Rafael Di Tella & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2004. "Do Police Reduce Crime? Estimates Using the Allocation of Police Forces After a Terrorist Attack," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 115-133, March.
    3. Gautier, Pieter A. & Siegmann, Arjen & Van Vuuren, Aico, 2009. "Terrorism and attitudes towards minorities: The effect of the Theo van Gogh murder on house prices in Amsterdam," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 113-126, March.
    4. Eric D. Gould & Bruce A. Weinberg & David B. Mustard, 2002. "Crime Rates And Local Labor Market Opportunities In The United States: 1979-1997," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 45-61, February.
    5. Abadie, Alberto & Dermisi, Sofia, 2008. "Is Terrorism Eroding Agglomeration Economies in Central Business Districts? Lessons from the Office Real Estate Market in Downtown Chicago," Working Paper Series rwp08-019, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    6. Pope, Jaren C., 2008. "Fear of crime and housing prices: Household reactions to sex offender registries," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 601-614, November.
    7. Julie Berry Cullen & Steven D. Levitt, 1996. "Crime, Urban Flight, and the Consequences for Cities," NBER Working Papers 5737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
    9. Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Decline and Six that Do Not," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 163-190, Winter.
    10. Bollinger, Christopher R. & Ihlanfeldt, Keith R., 2003. "The intraurban spatial distribution of employment: which government interventions make a difference?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 396-412, May.
    11. Donohue, John J. & Levitt, Steven D., 2000. "The Impact of Legalized Abortion on Crime," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt00p599hk, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
    12. Timothy Bates & Alicia Robb, 2007. "Crime's Impact on the Survival Prospects of Young Urban Small Businesses," Working Papers 07-30, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    13. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1975. "The Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment: A Question of Life and Death," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 397-417, June.
    14. Morgan Kelly, 2000. "Inequality And Crime," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 530-539, November.
    15. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E, 1998. "Competition between Private and Public Schools, Vouchers, and Peer-Group Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 33-62, March.
    16. Dennis Epple & Thomas Romer & Holger Sieg, 2001. "Interjurisdictional Sorting and Majority Rule: An Empirical Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1437-1465, November.
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    Cited by:
    1. Freedman, Matthew & Owens, Emily G., 2011. "Low-income housing development and crime," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2-3), pages 115-131, September.
    2. Janke, K.; & Propper, C.; & Shields, M.A.;, 2013. "Does Violent Crime Deter Physical Activity?," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 13/26, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    3. Maksim Belitski & Julia Korosteleva, 2011. "Entrepreneurial activity across European cities," ERSA conference papers ersa10p1646, European Regional Science Association.
    4. repec:bri:cmpowp:13/312 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. David Albouy & Bert Lue, 2014. "Driving to Opportunity: Local Rents, Wages, Commuting Costs and Sub-Metropolitan Quality of Life," NBER Working Papers 19922, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Edward L. Glaeser & Stuart S. Rosenthal & William C, Strange, 2010. "Urban Economics and Entrepreneurship," NBER Chapters, in: Cities and Entrepreneurship National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Nicolas Marceau & Steeve Mongrain, 2007. "Competition in Law Enforcement and Capital Allocation," Discussion Papers dp07-03, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University.
    8. Gabriel, Stuart A. & Rosenthal, Stuart S., 2013. "Urbanization, agglomeration economies, and access to mortgage credit," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 42-50.
    9. Braakmann, Nils, 2012. "The effect of the 2011 London riots on crime, policing and unemployment," MPRA Paper 44883, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Andrés Barreneche García, 2014. "Analyzing the determinants of entrepreneurship in European cities," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 77-98, January.

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