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Income Inequality and Crime: The Case of Sweden

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    Abstract

    The degree of income inequality in Sweden has varied substantially since the 1970s. This study analyzes whether this variation has affected the crime rate using a panel of Swedish county-level data for the period 1973–2000. We consider various measures of income inequality to evaluate which part of the distribution that matters most in determining crime rates. Our results indicate that there is a statistically significant positive effect of the proportion of the population with an income below 10 percent of median income on the incidence of property crime. Moreover, the unemployment rate has a positive effect on the incidence of the number of overall crime, auto thefts and robberies. The results look different for the violent crime category assault.

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    File URL: http://www2.ne.su.se/paper/wp04_03.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Stockholm University, Department of Economics in its series Research Papers in Economics with number 2004:3.

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    Length: 33 pages
    Date of creation: 05 May 2004
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2004_0003

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    Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
    Phone: +46 8 16 20 00
    Fax: +46 8 16 14 25
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    Web page: http://www.ne.su.se/
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    Keywords: crime; income inequality; panel data;

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    1. Demombynes, Gabriel & Ozler, Berk, 2002. "Crime and local inequality in South Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2925, The World Bank.
    2. Richard B. Freeman, 1996. "Why Do So Many Young American Men Commit Crimes and What Might We Do about It?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 25-42, Winter.
    3. Bourguignon Francois, 2009. "Crime as a Social Cost of Poverty and Inequality: A Review Focusing on Developing countries," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
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    7. 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.
    8. Nilsson, Anna & Agell, Jonas, 2003. "Crime, Unemployment and Labor Market Programs in Turbulent Times," Research Papers in Economics 2003:13, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    9. 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.
    10. Edin, Per-Anders & Fredriksson, Peter, 2000. "LINDA - Longitudinal INdividual DAta for Sweden," Working Paper Series 2000:19, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    11. Entorf, Horst & Spengler, Hannes, 1998. "Socio-economic and demographic factors of crime in Germany: evidence from panel data of the German states," ZEW Discussion Papers 98-16, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    12. Per-Anders Edin & Bertl Holmlund, 1993. "The Swedish Wage Stucture: The Rise and Fall of Solidarity Wage Policy?," NBER Working Papers 4257, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Fajnzylber, Pablo & Lederman, Daniel & Loayza, Norman, 2002. "Inequality and Violent Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(1), pages 1-40, April.
    14. Steven D. Levitt, 1995. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Policeon Crime," NBER Working Papers 4991, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Morgan Kelly, 2000. "Inequality And Crime," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 530-539, November.
    16. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-26, November.
    17. Stephen Machin & Costas Meghir, 2004. "Crime and Economic Incentives," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(4).
    18. Steven D. Levitt & Lance Lochner, 2001. "The Determinants of Juvenile Crime," NBER Chapters, in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 327-374 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Edmark, Karin, 2003. "The Effects of Unemployment on Property Crime: Evidence from a Period of Unusually Large Swings in the Business Cycle," Working Paper Series 2003:14, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    20. 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.
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    Cited by:
    1. van den Berg, Gerard J & Lindeboom, Maarten & Dolton, Peter J, 2004. "Survey non-response and unemployment duration," Working Paper Series 2004:12, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    2. Choe, Jongmook, 2008. "Income inequality and crime in the United States," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(1), pages 31-33, October.
    3. Matz Dahlberg & Magnus Gustavsson, 2008. "Inequality and Crime: Separating the Effects of Permanent and Transitory Income," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 70(2), pages 129-153, 04.
    4. Söderström, Martin & Uusitalo, Roope, 2005. "School choice and segregation: evidence from an admission reform," Working Paper Series 2005:7, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    5. Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Vassilis Tselios, 2010. "Inequalities in income and education and regional economic growth in western Europe," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 44(2), pages 349-375, April.
    6. Cantoni, Eva & de Luna, Xavier, 2004. "Non-parametric adjustment for covariates when estimating a treatment effect," Working Paper Series 2004:9, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    7. Mark J. Garmaise & Tobias J. Moskowitz, 2004. "Bank Mergers and Crime: The Real and Social Effects of Credit Market Competition," NBER Working Papers 11006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Ayse İmrohoroĝlu & Antonio Merlo & Peter Rupert, 2006. "Understanding the determinants of crime," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 270-284, June.
    9. Larsson, Laura & Nordström Skans, Oskar, 2004. "Early indication of program performance: The case of a Swedish temporary employment program," Working Paper Series 2004:7, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.

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