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Crime and benefit sanctions

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  • Stephen Machin
  • Olivier Marie

Abstract

In this paper we look at the relationship between crime and economic incentives in a different way to other work in this area. We look at changes in unemployment benefits and the imposition of benefit sanctions as a means of studying the way that people on the margins of crime may react to economic incentives. The paper relies on a quasiexperimental setting induced by the introduction of the Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) in the UK in October 1996. We look at crime rates in areas more and less affected by the policy change before and after JSA introduction. In the areas more affected by the tougher benefit regime crime rose by more. These were also the areas with higher outflows from unemployment and particularly to people dropping off the register but not into work, education/training or onto other benefits. Areas that had more sanctioned individuals also experienced higher crime rates after the introduction of JSA. As such the benefit cuts and sanctions embodied in the JSA appear to have induced individuals previously on the margins to engage in crime. Thus there appears to have been an unintended policy consequence, associated with the benefit reform, namely higher crime.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/19945/
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 19945.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:19945

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Related research

Keywords: Crime; Benefit Sanctions; Jobseekers allowance;

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References

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  1. Stephen Machin & Costas Meghir, 2004. "Crime and Economic Incentives," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(4).
  2. Grogger, Jeff, 1998. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(4), pages 756-91, October.
  3. David Card, 1992. "Using regional variation in wages to measure the effects of the federal minimum wage," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 22-37, October.
  4. Atkinson, Anthony B & Micklewright, John, 1991. "Unemployment Compensation and Labor Market Transitions: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 1679-1727, December.
  5. Freeman, Richard B., 1999. "The economics of crime," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 52, pages 3529-3571 Elsevier.
  6. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Machin, Stephen & Manning, Alan, 1999. "The causes and consequences of longterm unemployment in Europe," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 47, pages 3085-3139 Elsevier.
  8. 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.
  9. Isaac Ehrlich, 1996. "Crime, Punishment, and the Market for Offenses," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 43-67, Winter.
  10. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1973. "Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 521-65, May-June.
  11. Machin, Stephen & Alan Manning & Lupin Rahman, 2003. "Where Minimum Wage Bites Hard: The Introduction of the UK National Minimum Wage to a Low Wage Sector," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 145, Royal Economic Society.
  12. repec:fth:prinin:300 is not listed on IDEAS
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Cited by:
  1. Olmo Silva, 2004. "Entrepreneurship: Can the Jack-of-All-Trades Attitude be Aquired?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0665, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. 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).
  3. John Van Reenen, 2005. "Welfare to Work: The Evidence on Labour’s New Deal Policies," CEP Election Analysis Papers 000, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Fougère, Denis & Kramarz, Francis & Pouget, Julien, 2006. "Youth Unemployment and Crime in France," CEPR Discussion Papers 5600, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Olivier Marie, 2005. "Reducing Crime: More Police, More Prisons or More Pay?," CEP Election Analysis Papers 002, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.

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