Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Assessing the crack hypothesis using data from a crime wave: the case of São Paulo

Contents:

Author Info

  • João M P De Mello

    ()
    (Department of Economics PUC-Rio)

Abstract

Mimicking the “Great American Crime Decline” (Zimiring, 2007), violent crime in the state of São Paulo dropped sharply in the 2000s after rising steadily throughout the 1980s and 1990s. This paper evaluates the role of crack cocaine in explaining the aggregate dynamics in violence. Four facts are established. First, the aggregate data show a tight co-movement between the prevalence of crack cocaine and homicides. Second, using city-level apprehension and possession data, I find a strong elasticity of violent crime with respect to crack cocaine after controlling for year, city effects, and many time-varying covariates. I use the estimated elasticity to compute the contribution of crack cocaine to aggregate violence. Crack explains 30% of time series variation in the data. Third, only drug traffic – not drug possession – has an impact on homicides. Finally, I find no impact on property crimes, I find a weaker impact on attempted murder, and, interestingly, I find a weak negative impact on aggravated assault. The theory suggests that both facts – only trafficking matters and crack affects only homicides, not property crime – can be rationalized only if drug-induced crime is driven by systemic violence induced by illegality itself. These results are important for policy because they suggest that violence will not follow legalization of both the possession and the trade of cocaine or crack-cocaine.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.econ.puc-rio.br/pdf/td586.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil) in its series Textos para discussão with number 586.

as in new window
Length: 29p
Date of creation: Dec 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rio:texdis:586

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Rua Marquês de São Vicente, 225, 22453-900 Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Phone: 021 35271078
Fax: 021 35271084
Web page: http://www.econ.puc-rio.br
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Crack Epidemic; Violence; Panel Data;

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Saffer, Henry & Chaloupka, Frank, 1999. "The Demand for Illicit Drugs," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(3), pages 401-11, July.
  2. Christopher Carpenter, 2007. "Heavy Alcohol Use and Crime: Evidence from Underage Drunk-Driving Laws," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50, pages 539-557.
  3. Jeffrey A. Miron & Jeffrey Zwiebel, 1995. "The Economic Case against Drug Prohibition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 175-192, Fall.
  4. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 675-700, August.
  5. Ciro Biderman & João Manoel Pinho de Mello & Alexandre A Schneider, 2006. "Dry law and homicides: evidence from the São Paulo metropolitan area," Textos para discussão 518, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil), revised Oct 2008.
  6. João M. P. de Mello & Alexandre Schneider, 2010. "Assessing São Paulo's Large Drop in Homicides: The Role of Demography and Policy Interventions," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Crime: Lessons for and from Latin America, pages 207-235 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rio:texdis:586. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.