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Economic Trends and Cycles in Crime: A Study for England and Wales

  • Suncica Vujic


    (University of Bath)

  • Siem Jan Koopman


    (University Amsterdam)

  • Jacques J. F. Commandeur


    (University Amsterdam)

This paper models cyclical behaviour in property crime series (burglary and theft) in relation to the macroeconomic activity indicators in England andWales in the period from 1955 to 2001. Using unobserved components (UC) time series models, univariate time series analysis suggests that recorded burglary (theft) data is subject to stochastic cycle processes with typical business cycle frequencies of approximately 5 and 10 years. In the multivariate UC time series framework, recorded burglary (theft) is simultaneously modelled in a trivariate model, together with unemployment and real GDP time series. We also estimate a five-variate model, where we simultaneously model burglary, theft, unemployment, real GDP, and police variables. Some interesting findings in these analyses are: (i) observed cyclical behaviour in recorded property crime is almost fully determined by the economic business cycles; (ii) explanatory variables such as sentence length, imprisonment and conviction rates affect the short-term dynamics more than the long-term dynamics; (iii) motivational and opportunity effects between macroeconomic and crime time series can be distinguished in our modelling framework.

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Article provided by Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics in its journal Journal of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 232 (2012)
Issue (Month): 6 (November)
Pages: 652-677

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Handle: RePEc:jns:jbstat:v:232:y:2012:i:6:p:652-677
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  1. Commandeur, Jacques J.F. & Koopman, Siem Jan, 2007. "An Introduction to State Space Time Series Analysis," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199228874, July.
  2. Reilly, Barry & Witt, Robert, 1996. "Crime, Deterrence and Unemployment in England and Wales: An Empirical Analysis," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 137-59, April.
  3. Fougère, Denis & Kramarz, Francis & Pouget, Julien, 2006. "Youth Unemployment and Crime in France," CEPR Discussion Papers 5600, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Karin Edmark, 2005. "Unemployment and Crime: Is There a Connection?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(2), pages 353-373, 06.
  5. Thiess Buettner, 2003. "Local Determinants of Crime: Distinguishing Between Resident and Non-resident Offenders," ERSA conference papers ersa03p396, European Regional Science Association.
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  7. Harvey, Andrew C & Fernandes, C, 1989. "Time Series Models for Count or Qualitative Observations," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 7(4), pages 407-17, October.
  8. Funk, Patricia & Kugler, Peter, 2003. "Dynamic interactions between crimes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 291-298, June.
  9. 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.
  10. Patricia Funk & Peter Kugler, 2003. "Identifying Efficient Crime-Combating Policies by VAR Models: The Example of Switzerland," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(4), pages 525-538, October.
  11. Altindag, Duha T., 2012. "Crime and unemployment: Evidence from Europe," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 145-157.
  12. Papps, Kerry L. & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Unemployment and Crime: New Answers to an Old Question," IZA Discussion Papers 25, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Siem Jan Koopman & Andr� Lucas & Marius Ooms & Kees van Montfort & Victor van der Geest, 2007. "Estimating Systematic Continuous-time Trends in Recidivism using a Non-Gaussian Panel Data Model," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 07-027/4, Tinbergen Institute.
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  16. John M. Nunley & Richard Alan Seals Jr. & Joachim Zietz, 2011. "The Impact of Macroeconomic Conditions on Property Crime," Auburn Economics Working Paper Series auwp2011-06, Department of Economics, Auburn University.
  17. Durbin, James & Koopman, Siem Jan, 2001. "Time Series Analysis by State Space Methods," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198523543, July.
  18. 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 270-90, June.
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  21. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:102:y:1987:i:4:p:797-814 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Anna Öster & Jonas Agell, 2007. "Crime and Unemployment in Turbulent Times," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(4), pages 752-775, 06.
  23. Hope Corman & Naci Mocan, 2002. "Carrots, Sticks and Broken Windows," NBER Working Papers 9061, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Jukka Nyblom & Andrew Harvey, 2001. "Testing against smooth stochastic trends," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(3), pages 415-429.
  25. Jeff Grogger, 1997. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," NBER Working Papers 5983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Harvey, Andrew C & Fernandes, C, 1989. "Time Series Models for Count or Qualitative Observations: Reply," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 7(4), pages 422, October.
  27. Atkinson, A. C. & Koopman, S. J. & Shephard, N., 1997. "Detecting shocks: Outliers and breaks in time series," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 387-422, October.
  28. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1973. "Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 521-65, May-June.
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