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What Accounts For The Decline In Crime?

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  • Ayse Imrohoroglu
  • Antonio Merlo
  • Peter Rupert

Abstract

In this article we analyze recent trends in aggregate property crime rates in the United States. We propose a dynamic equilibrium model that guides our quantitative investigation of the major determinants of observed patterns of crime. Our main findings can be summarized as follows: First, the model is capable of reproducing the drop in crime between 1980 and 1996. Second, the most important factors that account for the observed decline in property crime are the higher apprehension probability, the stronger economy, and the aging of the population. Third, the effect of unemployment on crime is negligible. Fourth, the increased inequality prevented an even larger decline in crime. Overall, our analysis can account for the behavior of the time series of property crime rates over the past quarter century. Copyright 2004 by the Economics Department Of The University Of Pennsylvania And Osaka University Institute Of Social And Economic Research Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Ayse Imrohoroglu & Antonio Merlo & Peter Rupert, 2004. "What Accounts For The Decline In Crime?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(3), pages 707-729, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:45:y:2004:i:3:p:707-729
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jeffrey Grogger, 1995. "The Effect of Arrests on the Employment and Earnings of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 51-71.
    2. Kenneth Burdett & Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2003. "Crime, Inequality, and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1764-1777, December.
    3. Levitt, Steven D, 1997. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 270-290, June.
    4. Grogger, Jeff, 1998. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(4), pages 756-791, October.
    5. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-442, June.
    6. Isaac Ehrlich, 1996. "Crime, Punishment, and the Market for Offenses," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 43-67, Winter.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • D58 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Computable and Other Applied General Equilibrium Models
    • D99 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Other

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