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Down and Out in Italian Towns: Measuring the Impact of Economic Downturns on Crime

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  • Carlo Menon
  • Guido de Blasio

Abstract

The paper investigates the effect of local economic conditions on crime. The study focuses on Italy'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 Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE in its series SERC Discussion Papers with number secdp0137.

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Date of creation: Jun 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cep:sercdp:secdp0137

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Web page: http://www.spatialeconomics.ac.uk/SERC/publications/default.asp

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Keywords: crime; economic crises; Italy;

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  1. Denis Fougère & Francis Kramarz & Julien Pouget, 2007. "Youth Unemployment and Crime in France," Working Papers 2007-33, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  2. Paolo Pinotti, 2012. "The economic costs of organized crime: evidence from southern Italy," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 868, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  3. Bianchi, Milo & Buonanno, Paolo & Pinotti, Paolo, 2010. "Do Immigrants Cause Crime?," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1023, CEPREMAP.
  4. Steve Machin & Costas Meghir, 2000. "Crime and economic incentives," IFS Working Papers W00/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. 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.
  6. Galbiati, Roberto & Caroli, Eve & Bignon, Vincent, 2011. "Stealing to Survive : Crime and Income Shocks in 19th Century France," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/7249, Paris Dauphine University.
  7. Ichino, Andrea & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 1999. "Lower and upper bounds of returns to schooling: An exercise in IV estimation with different instruments," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 889-901, April.
  8. Paolo Buonanno, 2006. "Crime and Labour Market Opportunities in Italy (1993-2002)," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 20(4), pages 601-624, December.
  9. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
  10. Karin Edmark, 2005. "Unemployment and Crime: Is There a Connection?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(2), pages 353-373, 06.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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).
  14. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 1996. "Why Is There More Crime in Cities?," NBER Working Papers 5430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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