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Official Crime Statistics: Their Use and Interpretation

  • Ziggy MacDonald

    (University of Leicester)

In this paper we consider the data used by economists to estimate economic models of crime. We discuss the main sources of Official Crime Statistics in the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States, and raise questions about the reliability of these data for estimation and forecasting purposes. In particular, we focus on the disparity between crime rates suggested by victimisation surveys and the rates suggested by Official Statistics, and show that this is primarily a consequence of under-reporting by victims and under-recording by the police. We conclude our analysis by considering the factors that influence the under-reporting of crime. Copyright Royal Economic Society 2002

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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 112 (2002)
Issue (Month): 477 (February)
Pages: F85-F106

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:112:y:2002:i:477:p:f85-f106
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  1. S. Pudney & D. Deadman & D. Pyle, 2000. "The relationship between crime, punishment and economic conditions: is reliable inference possible when crimes are under-recorded?," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 163(1), pages 81-97.
  2. Ziggy MacDonald, 2000. "The impact of under-reporting on the relationship between unemployment and property crime," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(10), pages 659-663.
  3. Meyers, Samuel L, Jr, 1983. "Estimating the Economic Model of Crime: Employment versus Punishment Effects," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(1), pages 157-66, February.
  4. Stephen Machin & Costas Meghir, 2000. "Crime and economic incentives," IFS Working Papers W00/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. Entorf, Horst & Spengler, Hannes, 1998. "Socio-economic and demographic factors of crime in Germany: evidence from panel data of the German states," ZEW Discussion Papers 98-16, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  6. Derek Deadman, . "Forecasting Residential Burglary," Discussion Papers in Public Sector Economics 00/6, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  7. Witte, Ann Dryden, 1980. "Estimating the Economic Model of Crime with Individual Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 57-84, February.
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