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Spatial Crime Patterns and the Introduction of the UK Minimum Wage

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  • Hansen, Kirstine
  • Machin, Stephen

Abstract

This paper provides an empirical evaluation of whether one can uncover a link between crime and the labour market using a research methodology that is different to that utilized in existing work. We exploit a large regulatory change that was made to the UK labour market when a national minimum wage was introduced in April 1999. This minimum wage introduction provided pay increases for quite a large number of low paid workers. From a theoretical perspective we argue that this wage boost could have altered individual incentives to participate in crime. We then go on to develop empirical tests of this hypothesis based upon comparing spatial crime patterns, measured at police force area level, in the years before and after the introduction of the minimum wage floor. Our empirical study of area-level crime rates before and after the minimum wage introduction uncovers a statistically significant link between changes in crime and the extent of area low pay before the minimum wage was introduced. Overall our results are in line with the notion that altering wage incentives can affect crime and therefore that there exists a link between crime and the low wage labour market. Copyright 2002 by Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Suggested Citation

  • Hansen, Kirstine & Machin, Stephen, 2002. " Spatial Crime Patterns and the Introduction of the UK Minimum Wage," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 64(0), pages 677-697, Supplemen.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:obuest:v:64:y:2002:i:0:p:677-97
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    Cited by:

    1. Olivier Marie, 2005. "Reducing Crime: More Police, More Prisons or More Pay?," CEP Election Analysis Papers 002, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    2. Ryan S. Johnson & Shawn Kantor & Price V. Fishback, 2007. "Striking at the Roots of Crime: The Impact of Social Welfare Spending on Crime During the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 12825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. David B. Mustard, 2010. "Labor Markets and Crime: New Evidence on an Old Puzzle," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Crime, chapter 14 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. William Harbaugh & Naci Mocan & Michael Visser, 2013. "Theft and Deterrence," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 34(4), pages 389-407, December.
    5. Mustard, David B., 2010. "How Do Labor Markets Affect Crime? New Evidence on an Old Puzzle," IZA Discussion Papers 4856, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Kirstine Hansen & Dylan Kneale, 2013. "Does How You Measure Income Make a Difference to Measuring Poverty? Evidence from the UK," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 110(3), pages 1119-1140, February.

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