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Crime and Poverty: Evidence From a Natural Experiment

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  • Marcel Fafchamps
  • Bart Minten

Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between poverty and crime. 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. Using original survey data collected in June 2002 at the height f the crisis, we find that crime increase with poverty. Our most conclusive results are for crop theft. We also find that an increase in law enforcement personnel reduces cattle theft which, in Madagascar, is a form of organised crime. Theft appears to be used by some of the rural poor as a risk coping strategy. Increased transport costs led to a rise in a cattle and crop theft, suggesting that isolation raises crime.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2002-23.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2002-23

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Cited by:
  1. Marcel Fafchamps & Christine Moser, 2003. "Crime, Isolation and Law Enforcement," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 12(4), pages 625-671, December.
  2. Marcel Fafchamps & Bart Minten, 2004. "Public Service Provision, User Fees, and Political Turmoil," Development and Comp Systems, EconWPA 0409039, EconWPA.

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