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Is There a Natural Rate of Crime?

  • Paresh Kumar Narayan
  • Ingrid Nielsen
  • Russell Smyth

Studies in the economics of crime literature have reached mixed conclusions on the deterrence hypothesis. One explanation that has been offered for the failure to find evidence of a deterrent effect in the long run is the natural rate of crime. This article applies univariate unit root tests to crime series for the United Kingdom and United States and panel unit roots to crime rates for a panel of G7 countries to examine whether there is a natural rate of crime. Our main finding is that when we allow for two structural breaks in the univariate unit root test and a structural break in the panel data unit root test, there is strong evidence of a natural rate of crime. The policy implications of our findings is that governments should focus on altering the economic and social structural profile that determines crime in the long run rather than increasing expenditure on law enforcement that will at best reduce crime rates in the short run. Copyright � 2010 American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Inc..

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal American Journal of Economics and Sociology.

Volume (Year): 69 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (04)
Pages: 759-782

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ajecsc:v:69:y:2010:i:2:p:759-782
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