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There Goes the Neighborhood? Estimates of the Impact of Crime Risk on Property Values From Megan's Laws

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  • Leigh L. Linden
  • Jonah E. Rockoff

Abstract

We combine data from the housing market with data from the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry to estimate how individuals value living in close proximity to a convicted criminal. We use the exact location of sex offenders to exploit variation in the threat of crime within small homogenous groupings of homes, and we use the timing of sex offenders' arrivals to control for baseline property values in the area. We find statistically and economically significant negative effects of sex offenders' locations that are extremely localized. Houses within a one-tenth mile area around the home of a sex offender fall by 4 percent on average (about $5,500). We also find evidence that the effect varies with distance within this range -- houses next to an offender sell for about 12 percent less while those a tenth of a mile away or more show no decline. We combine our willingness-to-pay estimates with data on sexual crimes against neighbors to estimate the costs to victims of sexual offenses. We estimate costs of over $1 million per victim -- far in excess of estimates taken from the criminal justice literature. However, we cannot reject the alternative hypotheses that individuals overestimate the risk posed by offenders or view living near an offender as having costs exclusive of crime risk.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12253.

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Date of creation: May 2006
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Publication status: published as Linden, Leigh L. and Jonah Rockoff. “Estimates of the Impact of Crime Risk on Property Values from Megan’s Laws." American Economic Review 98, 3 (2008): 1103‐27.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12253

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  1. Patrick Bayer & Fernando Ferreira & Robert McMillan, 2004. "Tiebout Sorting, Social Multipliers and the Demand for School Quality," NBER Working Papers 10871, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Linda T.M. Bui & Christopher J. Mayer, . "Regulation and Capitalization of Environmental Amenities: Evidence from the Toxic Release Inventory in Massachusetts," Zell/Lurie Center Working Papers 348, Wharton School Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center, University of Pennsylvania.
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Cited by:
  1. J.J. Prescott & Jonah E. Rockoff, 2008. "Do Sex Offender Registration and Notification Laws Affect Criminal Behavior?," NBER Working Papers 13803, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Sinning, Mathias G., 2011. "Neighborhood diversity and the appreciation of native- and immigrant-owned homes," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 214-226, May.
  3. Cornaglia, Francesca & Feldman, Naomi E. & Leigh, Andrew, 2014. "Crime and Mental Wellbeing," IZA Discussion Papers 8014, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Redfearn, Christian L., 2009. "How informative are average effects? Hedonic regression and amenity capitalization in complex urban housing markets," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 297-306, May.

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