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Prices, Policing and Policy: The Dynamics of Crime Booms and Busts

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  • Tom Kirchmaier
  • Stephen Machin
  • Matteo Sandi
  • Robert Witt

Abstract

In many historical episodes, criminal activity displays booms and busts. One clear example is the case of metal crime in the United Kingdom (and elsewhere) where, in the face of big increases in value driven by world commodity prices, thefts rose very sharply in the 2000s, after which they fell. This paper studies the respective roles of prices, policing and policy in shaping this crime boom and bust. Separate study of each reveals metal crime being driven up via sizeable and significant metal crime–price elasticities and driven down by changes in policing and policy. A regression-based decomposition analysis confirms that all three of the hypothesised factors considered in the paper - prices, policing and policy - were empirically important in the different stages of metal theft's boom and bust.

Suggested Citation

  • Tom Kirchmaier & Stephen Machin & Matteo Sandi & Robert Witt, 2020. "Prices, Policing and Policy: The Dynamics of Crime Booms and Busts," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 1040-1077.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jeurec:v:18:y:2020:i:2:p:1040-1077.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/jeea/jvz014
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    Cited by:

    1. Yu Aoki & Theodore Koutmeridis, 2019. "Shaking Criminal Incentives," Working Papers 2019-13, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
    2. Yu Aoki & Theodore Koutmeridis, 2019. "Shaking Criminal Incentives," Working Papers 2019_13, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
    3. Aoki, Yu & Koutmeridis, Theodore, 2019. "Shaking Criminal Incentives," IZA Discussion Papers 12781, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Blesse, Sebastian & Diegmann, André, 2019. "Police reorganization and crime: Evidence from police station closures," ZEW Discussion Papers 18-044, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.

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    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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