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Volatile Interest Rates, Volatile Crime Rates: A new argument for interest-rate smoothing

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  • Garett Jones

    ()

  • Ali Kutan

    ()

Abstract

Good monetary policy requires estimates of all of its effects: monetary policy impacts traditional economic variables such as output, unemployment rates, and inflation. But does monetary policy influence crime rates? By extending the vector autoregression literature, we derive estimates of the dynamic effect of higher interest rates on crime rates. Higher interest rates have socially and statistically significant positive effects on rates of theft and knife robberies, while effects on rates of burglary and assault are smaller and statistically insignificant. Higher interest rates have no effect on homicide rates. We conclude that monetary policy influences the rate of economically-motivated crimes.

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File URL: http://www.wdi.umich.edu/files/Publications/WorkingPapers/wp694.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan in its series William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series with number 2004-694.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: 01 May 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2004-694

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Keywords: crime; monetary policy; vector autoregressive models (VARs);

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  1. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Charles L. Evans, 1997. "Monetary policy shocks: what have we learned and to what end?," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-97-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  2. Grogger, Jeff, 1998. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(4), pages 756-91, October.
  3. Isaac Ehrlich, 1996. "Crime, Punishment, and the Market for Offenses," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 43-67, Winter.
  4. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  5. Steven D. Levitt, 1995. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Policeon Crime," NBER Working Papers 4991, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Richard B. Freeman, 1996. "Why Do So Many Young American Men Commit Crimes and What Might We Do about It?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 25-42, Winter.
  7. 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.
  8. Brunner, Allan D, 2000. "On the Derivation of Monetary Policy Shocks: Should We Throw the VAR Out with the Bath Water?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(2), pages 254-79, May.
  9. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1981. "On the Usefulness of Controlling Individuals: An Economic Analysis of Rehabilitation, Incapacitation, and Deterrence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 307-22, June.
  10. Freeman, Richard B., 1999. "The economics of crime," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 52, pages 3529-3571 Elsevier.
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Cited by:
  1. Yearwood, Douglas L. & Koinis, Gerry, 2009. "Revisting Property Crime and Economic Conditions: An Exploratory Study to Identify Predictive Indicators beyond Unemployment Rates," MPRA Paper 16834, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Sourav Batabyal, 2011. "Temporal Causality and the Dynamics of Crime and Delinquency," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 39(4), pages 421-441, December.
  3. Habibullah, M.S. & Law, Siong-Hook, 2008. "Property crime and macroeconomic variables in Malaysia: Some empirical evidence from a vector error-correction model," MPRA Paper 12112, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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