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Down and out in Italian towns: measuring the impact of economic downturns on crime

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  • Guido de Blasio

    ()
    (Bank of Italy)

  • Carlo Menon

    ()
    (OECD)

Abstract

The paper investigates the effect of local economic conditions on crime. The study focuses on ItalyÂ’s local labor markets and analyzes the short-term response of crime to the severe slump of 2007-2009. It shows that the downturn led to a significant increase in economic-related offenses that do not require particular criminal skills or tools (namely, thefts); on the other hand, for offenses for which specific skills and criminal experience are essential (say, robberies) the impact of the crisis was negative. The results also suggest that: i) labor market institutions (i.e. wage supplementary schemes and pro-worker contractual arrangements) had a role in slowing down the effect of the economy on crime; ii) the link between the downturn and crime was weaker in areas where the presence of organized crime is relatively more intensive.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) with number 925.

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Date of creation: Jul 2013
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Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_925_13

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Keywords: crime; economic crises; Italy;

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  1. Fougère, Denis & Kramarz, Francis & Pouget, Julien, 2006. "Youth Unemployment and Crime in France," CEPR Discussion Papers 5600, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Milo Bianchi & Paolo Buonanno & Paolo Pinotti, 2008. "Do immigrants cause crime?," PSE Working Papers halshs-00586864, HAL.
  3. Joshua D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens, 1995. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Mehlum, Halvor & Miguel, Edward & Torvik, Ragnar, 2006. "Poverty and crime in 19th century Germany," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 370-388, May.
  5. Bignon, Vincent & Caroli, Eve & Galbiati, Roberto, 2011. "Stealing to Survive: Crime and Income Shocks in 19th Century France," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1111, CEPREMAP, revised Feb 2013.
  6. Paolo Buonanno, 2005. "Crime and labour market opportunities in Italy (1993-2002)," Working Papers 0504, University of Bergamo, Department of Economics.
  7. Ichino, Andrea & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 1998. "Lower and Upper Bounds of Returns to Schooling: An Exercise in IV estimation with Different Instruments," CEPR Discussion Papers 2007, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. 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.
  9. Karin Edmark, 2005. "Unemployment and Crime: Is There a Connection?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(2), pages 353-373, 06.
  10. Paolo Pinotti, 2012. "The Economic Costs of Organized Crime: Evidence from Southern Italy," Working Papers 054, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
  11. 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.
  12. Steve Machin & Costas Meghir, 2000. "Crime and economic incentives," IFS Working Papers W00/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  13. Carlo Menon, 2012. "The bright side of MAUP: Defining new measures of industrial agglomeration," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 91(1), pages 3-28, 03.
  14. Mustard, David B., 2010. "How Do Labor Markets Affect Crime? New Evidence on an Old Puzzle," IZA Discussion Papers 4856, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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