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Stealing to Survive: Crime and Income Shocks in 19th Century France

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  • Bignon, Vincent
  • Caroli, Eve
  • Galbiati, Roberto

Abstract

Using department level administrative data from 1826 to 1936 we document the evolution of crime rates in 19th century France and we estimate the impact of a negative income shock on crime. Our identification strategy exploits the phylloxera crisis. Between 1863 and 1890, phylloxera destroyed about 40% of French vineyards. Using the departmental variation in the timing of this shock we instrument wine production and we identify the effects of the shock on property and violent crime rates. Our estimates suggest that the phylloxera crisis did not significantly impact on violent crimes but caused a strong increase in property crimes. A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that the phylloxera crisis caused an increase in property crime rates of about ten percent.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CEPREMAP in its series CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) with number 1111.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2011
Date of revision: Feb 2013
Handle: RePEc:cpm:docweb:1111

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Keywords: crime; income shock; phylloxera; 19th century France;

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  1. 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.
  2. Fajnzylber, Pablo & Lederman, Daniel & Loayza, Norman, 2002. "What causes violent crime?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(7), pages 1323-1357, July.
  3. 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.
  4. Raphael, Steven & Winter-Ember, Rudolf, 2001. "Identifying the Effect of Unemployment on Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(1), pages 259-83, April.
  5. Fougère, Denis & Kramarz, Francis & Pouget, Julien, 2006. "Youth Unemployment and Crime in France," CEPR Discussion Papers 5600, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Jean-Michel Chevet & Sebastien Lecocq & Michael Visser, 2011. "Climate, Grapevine Phenology, Wine Production, and Prices: Pauillac (1800-2009)," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 142-46, May.
  7. François Bourguignon & Jairo Nuñez & Fabio Sanchez, 2003. "A Structural Model of Crime and Inequality in Colombia," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 440-449, 04/05.
  8. Andrea Ichino & Michele Polo & Enrico Rettore, . "Are Judges Biased by Labor Market Conditions?," Working Papers 192, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  9. Christian Traxler & Carsten Burhop, 2010. "Poverty and crime in 19th century Germany: A reassessment," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2010_35, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  10. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo & Gilles Postel-Vinay & Timothy M. Watts, 2007. "Long Run Health Impacts of Income Shocks: Wine and Phylloxera in 19th Century France," NBER Working Papers 12895, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Soares, Rodrigo R., 2004. "Development, crime and punishment: accounting for the international differences in crime rates," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 155-184, February.
  12. H. Naci Mocan & Turan G. Bali, 2005. "Asymmetric Crime Cycles," NBER Working Papers 11210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Anna Öster & Jonas Agell, 2007. "Crime and Unemployment in Turbulent Times," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(4), pages 752-775, 06.
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Cited by:
  1. Carlo Menon & Guido de Blasio, 2013. "Down and Out in Italian Towns: Measuring the Impact of Economic Downturns on Crime," SERC Discussion Papers secdp0137, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.

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