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Do Immigrants Cause Crime?

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  • Milo Bianchi
  • Paolo Buonanno
  • Paolo Pinotti

Abstract

We examine the empirical relationship between immigration and crime across Italian provinces during the period 1990-2003. Drawing on police administrative records, we first document that the size of the immigrant population is positively correlated with the incidence of property crimes and with the overall crime rate. Then, we use instrumental variables based on immigration toward destination countries other than Italy to identify the causal impact of exogenous changes in Italy's immigrant population. According to these estimates, immigration increases only the incidence of robberies, while leaving un- affected all other types of crime. Since robberies represent a very minor fraction of all criminal offenses, the effect on the overall crime rate is not significantly different from zero.
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Suggested Citation

  • Milo Bianchi & Paolo Buonanno & Paolo Pinotti, 2012. "Do Immigrants Cause Crime?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(6), pages 1318-1347, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:10:y:2012:i:6:p:1318-1347
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    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • R10 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General

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