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Asymmetric Crime Cycles

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  • H. Naci Mocan
  • Turan G. Bali

Abstract

Recent theoretical models based on dynamic human capital formation, or social influence, suggest an inverse relationship between criminal activity and economic opportunity and between criminal activity and deterrence, but predict an asymmetric response of crime. In this paper we use three different data sets and three different empirical methodologies to document this previously-unnoticed regularity. Using nonparametric methods we show that the behavior of property crime is asymmetric over time, where increases are sharper but decreases are gradual. Using aggregate time-series U.S. data as well as data from New York City we demonstrate that property crime reacts more (less) strongly to increases (decreases) in the unemployment rate, to decreases (increases) in per capita real GDP and to decreases (increases) in the police force. The same result is obtained between unemployment and property crime in annual state-level panel data. These results suggest that it may be cost effective to implement mechanisms to prevent crime commission rates from rising in the first place.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11210.

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Date of creation: Mar 2005
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Publication status: published as H. Naci Mocan & Turan G. Bali, 2010. "Asymmetric Crime Cycles," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 899-911, 01.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11210

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Cited by:
  1. Sourav Batabyal, 2011. "Temporal Causality and the Dynamics of Crime and Delinquency," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 39(4), pages 421-441, December.
  2. Bignon, Vincent & Caroli, Eve & Galbiati, Roberto, 2011. "Stealing to Survive: Crime and Income Shocks in 19th Century France," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1111, CEPREMAP, revised Feb 2013.
  3. Julie L. Hotchkiss & John C. Robertson, 2006. "Asymmetric labor force participation decisions over the business cycle: evidence from U.S. microdata," Working Paper, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta 2006-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  4. Richard T. Boylan & Naci H. Mocan, 2009. "Intended and Unintended Consequences of Prison Reform," NBER Working Papers 15535, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Thomas A. Garrett & Lesli S. Ott, 2008. "City business cycles and crime," Working Papers, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis 2008-026, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  6. Steve Cook & Duncan Watson, 2013. "Breaks and Convergence in U.S. Regional Crime Rates: Analysis of Their Presence and Implications," Social Sciences, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(3), pages 180-190, August.
  7. Venke Furre Haaland & Kjetil Telle, 2013. "Pro-cyclical mortality. Evidence from Norway," Discussion Papers, Research Department of Statistics Norway 766, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  8. Meloni, Osvaldo, 2012. "Is there an electoral-motivated crime rate cycle? Evidence from Argentina," MPRA Paper 40177, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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