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More inequality, more crime? A panel cointegration analysis for the United States


  • Chintrakarn, Pandej
  • Herzer, Dierk


This study employs state-level panel data to examine the effect of income inequality on crime in the United States. Using panel cointegration techniques, we find a significant negative effect of inequality on crime.

Suggested Citation

  • Chintrakarn, Pandej & Herzer, Dierk, 2012. "More inequality, more crime? A panel cointegration analysis for the United States," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 116(3), pages 389-391.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:116:y:2012:i:3:p:389-391 DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2012.04.014

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Decline and Six that Do Not," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 163-190, Winter.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Soares, Rodrigo R., 2004. "Development, crime and punishment: accounting for the international differences in crime rates," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 155-184, February.
    5. Kao, Chihwa, 1999. "Spurious regression and residual-based tests for cointegration in panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 1-44, May.
    6. Demombynes, Gabriel & Ozler, Berk, 2005. "Crime and local inequality in South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 265-292, April.
    7. Peter Pedroni, 2000. "Fully Modified OLS for Heterogeneous Cointegrated Panels," Department of Economics Working Papers 2000-03, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    8. Im, Kyung So & Pesaran, M. Hashem & Shin, Yongcheol, 2003. "Testing for unit roots in heterogeneous panels," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 53-74, July.
    9. Fajnzylber, Pablo & Lederman, Daniel & Loayza, Norman, 2002. "Inequality and Violent Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(1), pages 1-40, April.
    10. Pedroni, Peter, 1999. " Critical Values for Cointegration Tests in Heterogeneous Panels with Multiple Regressors," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 61(0), pages 653-670, Special I.
    11. Morgan Kelly, 2000. "Inequality And Crime," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 530-539, November.
    12. Chiu, W. Henry & Madden, Paul, 1998. "Burglary and income inequality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 123-141, July.
    13. Choe, Jongmook, 2008. "Income inequality and crime in the United States," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(1), pages 31-33, October.
    14. Mark W. Frank, 2009. "Inequality And Growth In The United States: Evidence From A New State-Level Panel Of Income Inequality Measures," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(1), pages 55-68, January.
    15. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1973. "Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 521-565, May-June.
    16. Levin, Andrew & Lin, Chien-Fu & James Chu, Chia-Shang, 2002. "Unit root tests in panel data: asymptotic and finite-sample properties," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 108(1), pages 1-24, May.
    17. Peter Pedroni, 2001. "Purchasing Power Parity Tests In Cointegrated Panels," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(4), pages 727-731, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Enamorado, Ted & López-Calva, Luis F. & Rodríguez-Castelán, Carlos & Winkler, Hernán, 2016. "Income inequality and violent crime: Evidence from Mexico's drug war," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 128-143.
    2. Tim Friehe & Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch, 2014. "Crime and Self-Control Revisited: Disentangling the Effect of Self-Control on Risk and Social Preferences," CESifo Working Paper Series 4747, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Baumann, Florian & Friehe, Tim, 2015. "Status concerns as a motive for crime?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 46-55.
    4. Mauro Costantini & Iris Meco & Antonio Paradiso, 2016. "Common trends in the US state-level crime.What do panel data say?," Working Papers 2016:14, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    5. Bethencourt, Carlos & Kunze, Lars, 2014. "On the intergenerational nature of criminal behavior," MPRA Paper 58344, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Inequality; Crime; Panel cointegration;

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models


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