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Does Violent Crime Deter Physical Activity?

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Author Info

  • Janke, Katharina

    ()
    (University of Bristol)

  • Propper, Carol

    ()
    (University of Bristol)

  • Shields, Michael A.

    ()
    (Monash University)

Abstract

Crime has been argued to have important externalities. We investigate the relationship between violent crime and an important type of behaviour: individuals' participation in their local area through walking and physical activity. We use a sample of nearly 1 million people residing in over 320 small areas in England between 2005 and 2011. We show that concerns about personal safety co-move with police recorded violent crime. To identify the causal effect of recorded violent crime on walking and other physical activity we control for individual-level characteristics, non-time varying local authority effects, national time effects and local authority-specific trends. In addition, we exploit a natural experiment that caused a sudden increase in crime – the 2011 England riots – to identify the causal impact of a large exogenous crime shock on physical activity in a triple difference framework. Our results show a substantive deterrent effect of local area violent crime on walking, pointing to important effects of violent crime on non-victims. The adverse effect of an increase in local area violent crime from the 25th to the 75th percentile on walking is equivalent in size to a 6°C fall in average minimum temperature.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7545.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7545

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Keywords: violent crime; walking; physical activity; riots;

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  1. Christian Dustmann & Francesco Fasani, 2013. "The Effect of Local Area Crime on Mental Health," Working Papers 712, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  2. Jeffrey Kling & Jeffrey B. Liebman & Lawrence F. Katz, 2001. "Bullets Don't Got No Name: Consequences of Fear in the Ghetto," JCPR Working Papers 225, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  3. Sundquist, Kristina & Theobald, Holger & Yang, Min & Li, Xinjun & Johansson, Sven-Erik & Sundquist, Jan, 2006. "Neighborhood violent crime and unemployment increase the risk of coronary heart disease: A multilevel study in an urban setting," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(8), pages 2061-2071, April.
  4. Jacob, Brian A. & Lefgren, Lars & Moretti, Enrico, 2005. "The Dynamics of Criminal Behavior: Evidence from Weather Shocks," Working Paper Series rwp05-003, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  5. Robert Metcalfe & Nattavudh Powdthavee & Paul Dolan, 2011. "Destruction and Distress: Using a Quasi‐Experiment to Show the Effects of the September 11 Attacks on Mental Well‐Being in the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(550), pages F81-F103, February.
  6. Francesca Cornaglia & Naomi E. Feldman & Andrew Leigh, 2014. "Crime and Mental Well-Being," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(1), pages 110-140.
  7. Steve Gibbons, 2003. "The Costs of Urban Property Crime," CEP Discussion Papers dp0574, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1998. "Crime and the Timing of Work," NBER Working Papers 6613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Brian Bell & Richard Blundell & John Reenen, 1999. "Getting the Unemployed Back to Work: The Role of Targeted Wage Subsidies," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 339-360, August.
  10. Stuart S. Rosenthal & Amanda Ross, 2010. "Violent Crime, Entrepreneurship, and Cities," NBER Chapters, in: Cities and Entrepreneurship National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Braakmann, Nils, 2012. "How do individuals deal with victimization and victimization risk? Longitudinal evidence from Mexico," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 335-344.
  12. Ian Ayres & Steven D. Levitt, 1997. "Measuring Positive Externalities from Unobservable Victim Precaution: An Empirical Analysis of Lojack," NBER Working Papers 5928, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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