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Crime and local inequality in South Africa

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  • Demombynes, Gabriel
  • Ozler, Berk

Abstract

The authors examine the effects of local inequality on property and violent crime in South Africa. Their findings are consistent with economic theories relating inequality to property crime, and also with sociological theories that imply that inequality leads to crime in general. Burglary rates are 20-30 percent higher in police station jurisdictions that are the wealthiest among their neighbors, suggesting that criminals travel to neighborhoods where the expected returns from burglary are highest. The authors do not find evidence that inequality between racial groups fosters interpersonal conflict at the local level.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2925.

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Date of creation: 30 Nov 2002
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2925

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Keywords: Corruption&Anitcorruption Law; Public Health Promotion; Education and Society; Judicial System Reform; Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Governance Indicators; Judicial System Reform; Corruption&Anitcorruption Law; Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Social Conflict and Violence;

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  1. Bruce Weinberg & Eric Gould & David Mustard, 1998. "Crime Rates and Local Labor Market Opportunities in the United States: 1979-1995," Working Papers 98-11, Ohio State University, Department of Economics.
  2. Kennedy, Bruce P. & Kawachi, Ichiro & Prothrow-Stith, Deborah & Lochner, Kimberly & Gupta, Vanita, 1998. "Social capital, income inequality, and firearm violent crime," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 7-17, July.
  3. Steve Machin & Costas Meghir, 2000. "Crime and economic incentives," IFS Working Papers W00/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1973. "Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 521-65, May-June.
  5. F. Bourguignon, 1999. "Crime as a Social Cost of Poverty and Inequality: A Review Focusing on Developing Countries," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  6. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 1999. "Why Is There More Crime in Cities?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S225-S258, December.
  7. Ravi Kanbur, 2006. "The policy significance of inequality decompositions," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 367-374, December.
  8. Atkinson, A.B. & Brandolini, A., 2000. "Promise and Pitfalls in the Use of 'Secondary' Data -Sets: Income Inequality in OECD Countries," Papers 379, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
  9. Demombynes, Gabriel & Elbers, Chris & Lanjouw, Jenny & Lanjouw, Peter & Mistiaen, Johan & Ozler, Berk, 2002. "Producing an Improved Geographic Profile of Poverty: Methodology and Evidence from Three Developing Countries," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  10. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Menno Pradhan & Martin Ravallion, 2001. "Who wants Safer Streets? Explaining Concern for Public Safety in Brazil," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 01-093/2, Tinbergen Institute.
  12. Chris Elbers & Jean O. Lanjouw & Peter Lanjouw, 2003. "Micro--Level Estimation of Poverty and Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 355-364, January.
  13. Behrman, Jere R & Craig, Steven G, 1987. "The Distribution of Public Services: An Exploration of Local Governmental Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 37-49, March.
  14. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
  15. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 5026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Morgan Kelly, 2000. "Inequality And Crime," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 530-539, November.
  17. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 1999. "A Data Set on Income Distribution," CEMA Working Papers 575, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  18. Chiu, W. Henry & Madden, Paul, 1998. "Burglary and income inequality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 123-141, July.
  19. Lederman, Daniel & Loayza, Norman & Menendez, Ana Maria, 2002. "Violent Crime: Does Social Capital Matter?," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(3), pages 509-39, April.
  20. Fajnzylber, Pablo & Lederman, Daniel & Loayza, Norman, 2002. "Inequality and Violent Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(1), pages 1-40, April.
  21. Klaus Deininger & Lyn Squire, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 512, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  22. Eric D. Gould & Bruce A. Weinberg & David B. Mustard, 2002. "Crime Rates And Local Labor Market Opportunities In The United States: 1979-1997," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 45-61, February.
  23. Fajnzylber, Pablo & Lederman, Daniel & Loayza, Norman, 2002. "What causes violent crime?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(7), pages 1323-1357, July.
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