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Racial Beliefs, Location, And The Causes Of Crime

  • Thierry Verdier
  • Yves Zenou

This article provides a unified explanation for why blacks commit more crime, are located in poorer neighborhoods, and receive lower wages than whites. If everybody believes that blacks are more criminal than whites-even if there is no basis for this-then blacks are offered lower wages and, as a result, locate further away from jobs. Distant residence increases even more the black-white wage gap because of more tiredness and higher commuting costs. Blacks have thus a lower opportunity cost of committing crime and become indeed more criminal than whites. Therefore, beliefs are self-fulfilling. Copyright 2004 by the Economics Department Of The University Of Pennsylvania And Osaka University Institute Of Social And Economic Research Association.

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Article provided by Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association in its journal International Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 45 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 (08)
Pages: 731-760

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Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:45:y:2004:i:3:p:731-760
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