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Understanding the Impact of Immigration on Crime

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  • Spenkuch, Jörg L.

Abstract

Since the 1960s both crime rates and the share of immigrants among the American population have more than doubled. Almost three quarters of Americans believe immigration increases crime, yet existing academic research has shown no such effect. Using panel data on US counties from 1980 to 2000, this paper presents empirical evidence on a systematic and economically meaningful impact of immigration on crime. Consistent with the economic model of crime this effect is strongest for crimes motivated by financial gain, such as motor vehicle theft and robbery. Moreover, the effect is only present for those immigrants most likely to have poor labor market outcomes. Failure to account for the cost of increased crime would overstate the “immigration surplus” substantially, but would most likely not reverse its sign.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 22864.

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Date of creation: 21 May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:22864

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Keywords: immigration; crime; social cost of immigration;

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References

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  1. Kristin F. Butcher & Anne Morrison Piehl, 2000. "The Role of Deportation in the Incarceration of Immigrants," NBER Chapters, in: Issues in the Economics of Immigration, pages 351-386 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Camille Hémet, 2013. "The Local Determinants of Victimization," Working Papers halshs-00873530, HAL.
  2. Giovanni Mastrobuoni & Paolo Pinotti, 2012. "Legal status and the criminal activity of immigrants," Working Papers 052, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
  3. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/6o65lgig8d0qcro9oj5ak8gr4 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Giovanni Mastrobuoni & Paolo Pinotti, 2014. "The Ups and Downs in Women's Employment: Shifting Composition or Behavior from 1970 to 2010?," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 14-212, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  5. Zhang, Haimin, 2014. "Immigration and Crime: Evidence from Canada," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2014-20, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 28 Apr 2014.
  6. Brian Bell & Stephen Machin, 2012. "The Crime – Immigration Nexus: Evidence from Recent Research," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 10(1), pages 48-54, 04.
  7. Camille Hémet, 2013. "Birds of a feather cannot always flock together: Essays on the socio-economic impacts of local diversity," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/6o65lgig8d0, Sciences Po.
  8. Dai, Tiantian & Liu, Xiangbo & Xie, Biancen, 2013. "The impact of immigrants on host country crime," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 119(2), pages 157-161.

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