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Crime and Unemployment in Turbulent Times

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  • Anna Öster
  • Jonas Agell

Abstract

We use the exceptional variation in municipality-level unemployment in Sweden during the 1990s to identify the effect of unemployment on crime. Our findings are as follows: (i) There is a statistically and economically significant effect of general unemployment on the incidence of burglary, auto theft, and drug possession; (ii) we find no evidence for the popular view that youth unemployment matters for crime; (iii) prime-aged unemployment is robustly correlated with main categories of youthful crimes, a finding consistent with the idea that unstable life conditions of parents have adverse spillover effects on the life-choices of their children. (JEL: J00, K4) (c) 2007 by the European Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • 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, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:5:y:2007:i:4:p:752-775
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General
    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior

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