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Theft And Rural Poverty: Results Of A Natural Experiment

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  • Fafchamps, Marcel
  • Minten, Bart

Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between theft and poverty in rural areas. Following a disputed presidential election, fuel supply to the highlands of Madagascar was severely curtailed in early 2002, resulting in a massive -- if temporary -- increase in poverty. This situation constituted a natural experiment of the effect of poverty on theft. Using original survey data collected in June 2002 at the height of the crisis, we find that crop theft increases with poverty and that an increase in law enforcement personnel reduces cattle theft, a form of organized crime. Results suggest that theft is used by some of the rural poor as a risk coping strategy. Increased transport costs led to a rise in cattle and crop theft, suggesting that isolation raises crime.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Association of Agricultural Economists in its series 2003 Annual Meeting, August 16-22, 2003, Durban, South Africa with number 25902.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae03:25902

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Keywords: Food Security and Poverty;

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  1. Fajnzylber, Pablo & Lederman, Daniel & Loayza, Norman, 2002. "Inequality and Violent Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(1), pages 1-40, April.
  2. Morgan Kelly, 2000. "Inequality And Crime," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 530-539, November.
  3. Ayse Imrohoroglu & Antonio Merlo & Peter Rupert, 1996. "On the political economy of income redistribution and crime," Staff Report 216, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. Pradhan, Menno & Ravallion, Martin, 1999. "Demand for public safety," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2043, The World Bank.
  5. Richard B. Freeman, 1996. "Why Do So Many Young American Men Commit Crimes and What Might We Do about It?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 25-42, Winter.
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