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Effects of welfare reform on women's crime

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  • Corman, Hope
  • Dave, Dhaval M.
  • Reichman, Nancy E.

Abstract

We investigate the effects of broad-based work incentives on female crime by exploiting the welfare reform legislation of the 1990s, which dramatically increased employment among women at risk for relying on cash assistance. We base the analyses on the supply of crime model in the human capital literature which emphasizes the importance of employment prospects in the legal and illegal labor markets. We find suggestive evidence that welfare reform decreased female arrests for property crimes (by 4–5%), but that it did not affect arrests for other types of crimes. The effects appear to be stronger in states with larger welfare caseload declines. As welfare reform policies are targeted to females, it is empirically validating that we do not find any substantively or statistically significant effects of welfare reform on crime among males. The findings point to broad-based work incentives—and, by inference, employment—as an important determinant of female property crime.

Suggested Citation

  • Corman, Hope & Dave, Dhaval M. & Reichman, Nancy E., 2014. "Effects of welfare reform on women's crime," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 1-14.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:irlaec:v:40:y:2014:i:c:p:1-14
    DOI: 10.1016/j.irle.2014.06.003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Dave, Dhaval M. & Corman, Hope & Kalil, Ariel & Schwartz-Soicher, Ofira & Reichman, Nancy E., 2019. "Effects of Maternal Work Incentives on Adolescent Social Behaviors," IZA Discussion Papers 12208, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Hope Corman & Dhaval Dave & Nancy E. Reichman, 2017. "Effects Of Welfare Reform On Women'S Voting Participation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(3), pages 1430-1451, July.
    3. Nadia Campaniello, 2014. "Women in crime," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 105-105, November.
    4. Hope Corman & Dhaval M. Dave & Nancy E. Reichman, 2018. "Age Gradient in Female Crime: Welfare Reform as a Turning Point," NBER Working Papers 24464, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. repec:eee:labeco:v:52:y:2018:i:c:p:263-286 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:eee:labeco:v:52:y:2018:i:c:p:193-209 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:eee:eecrev:v:109:y:2018:i:c:p:289-304 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:eee:eecrev:v:109:y:2018:i:c:p:275-288 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Campaniello, Nadia & Gavrilova, Evelina, 2018. "Uncovering the gender participation gap in crime," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 289-304.
    10. O’Flaherty, Brendan & Sethi, Rajiv, 2015. "Urban Crime," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Women's crime; Employment and crime; Property crime; Violent crime; Welfare reform and crime;

    JEL classification:

    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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