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Crime, Inequality, and Unemployment

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  • Kenneth Burdett
  • Ricardo Lagos
  • Randall Wright

Abstract

There is much discussion of the relationships between crime, inequality, and unemployment. We construct a model where all three are endogenous. We find that introducing crime into otherwise standard models of labor markets has several interesting implications. For example, it can lead to wage inequality among homogeneous workers. Also, it can generate multiple equilibria in natural but previously unexplored ways; hence two identical neighborhoods can end up with different levels of crime, inequality, and unemployment. We discuss the effects of anti-crime policies like changing jail sentences, as well as more traditional labor market policies like changing unemployment insurance.
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Suggested Citation

  • Kenneth Burdett & Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2003. "Crime, Inequality, and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1764-1777, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:93:y:2003:i:5:p:1764-1777
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282803322655536
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & José A. Scheinkman, 1996. "Crime and Social Interactions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 507-548.
    2. Fender, John, 1999. "A general equilibrium model of crime and punishment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 437-453, July.
    3. Albrecht, James W & Axell, Bo, 1984. "An Equilibrium Model of Search Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(5), pages 824-840, October.
    4. 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.
    5. Imrohoroglu, Ayse & Merlo, Antonio & Rupert, Peter, 2000. "On the Political Economy of Income Redistribution and Crime," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(1), pages 1-25, February.
    6. 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.
    7. Kenneth Burdett & Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2004. "An On-The-Job Search Model Of Crime, Inequality, And Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(3), pages 681-706, August.
    8. Diamond, Peter A., 1971. "A model of price adjustment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 156-168, June.
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    11. Alexander Tabarrok, 1997. "A simple model of crime waves, riots, and revolutions," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 25(3), pages 274-288, September.
    12. Grogger, Jeff, 1998. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(4), pages 756-791, October.
    13. Chien-Chieh Huang & Derek Laing & Ping Wang, 2004. "Crime And Poverty: A Search-Theoretic Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(3), pages 909-938, August.
    14. Cameron, Samuel, 1988. "The Economics of Crime Deterrence: A Survey of Theory and Evidence," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 301-323.
    15. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-273, May.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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