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Peaceable kingdoms and war zones: Pre-emption, ballistics and murder in Newark

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  • Brendan O'Flaherty

    ()
    (Columbia University - Department of Economics)

  • Rajiv Sethi

    ()
    (Barnard College, Columbia University)

Abstract

Between 2000 and 2006 the murder rate in Newark doubled while the national rate remained essentially constant. Newark now has eight times as many murders per capita than the nation as a whole. Furthermore, the increase in murders came about through an increase in lethality: total gun discharges rose much more slowly than the likelihood of death per shooting. In order to explain these trends we develop a theoretical model of murder in which preemptive killing and weapon choice play a central role. Strategic complementarity amplifies changes in fundamentals, so areas with high murder rates (war zones) respond much more strongly to changes in fundamentals than those with low murder rates (peaceable kingdoms). In Newark, the changes in fundamentals that set off the spiral were a collapsing arrest rate (and probably a falling conviction rate), a reduction in prisoners, and a shrinking police force.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Columbia University, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 0708-02.

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Length: 63 pages
Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:clu:wpaper:0708-02

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  1. Sandeep Baliga & Tomas Sj–str–m, 2004. "Arms Races and Negotiations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(2), pages 351-369, 04.
  2. H. Naci Mocan & Hope Corman, 2000. "A Time-Series Analysis of Crime, Deterrence, and Drug Abuse in New York City," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 584-604, June.
  3. Brendan O’Flaherty & Rajiv Sethi, 2010. "Witness Intimidation," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(2), pages 399 - 432.
  4. Sandeep Baliga & David Lucca & Tomas Sjostrom, 2009. "Domestic Political Survival and International Conflict: Is Democracy Good for Peace?," Departmental Working Papers 200907, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  5. Anne Morrison Piehl & Suzanne J. Cooper & Anthony A. Braga & David M. Kennedy, 2003. "Testing for Structural Breaks in the Evaluation of Programs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 550-558, August.
  6. Gaviria, Alejandro, 1998. "Increasing Returns and the Evolution of Violent Crime: The Case of Columbia," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt6x42726z, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  7. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce I. Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2003. "The Social Multiplier," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 345-353, 04/05.
  8. Sandeep Baliga & Tomas Sj�str�m, 2004. "Arms Races and Negotiations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 351-369.
  9. Steven D. Levitt, 1995. "Why Do Increased Arrest Rates Appear to Reduce Crime: Deterrence, Incapacitation, or Measurement Error?," NBER Working Papers 5268, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. repec:cdl:ucsdec:557466 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Freeman, Scott & Grogger, Jeffrey & Sonstelie, Jon, 1996. "The Spatial Concentration of Crime," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 216-231, September.
  12. Lawrence Katz & Steven D. Levitt & Ellen Shustorovich, 2003. "Prison Conditions, Capital Punishment, and Deterrence," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(2), pages 318-343, August.
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Cited by:
  1. O'Flaherty, Brendan & Sethi, Rajiv, 2010. "Homicide in black and white," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 215-230, November.
  2. Bjerk, David, 2009. "Thieves, Thugs, and Neighborhood Poverty," IZA Discussion Papers 4470, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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