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Under the Cover of Darkness: How Ambient Light Influences Criminal Activity

Author

Listed:
  • Jennifer L. Doleac

    (University of Virginia)

  • Nicholas J. Sanders

    (Cornell University)

Abstract

We exploit daylight saving time (DST) as an exogenous shock to daylight, using both the discontinuous nature of the policy and the 2007 extension of DST, to consider the impact of light on criminal activity. Regression discontinuity estimates show a 7% decrease in robberies following the shift to DST. As expected, effects are largest during the hours directly affected by the shift in daylight. We discuss our findings within the context of criminal decision making and labor supply, and estimate that the 2007 DST extension resulted in $59 million in annual social cost savings from avoided robberies.

Suggested Citation

  • Jennifer L. Doleac & Nicholas J. Sanders, 2015. "Under the Cover of Darkness: How Ambient Light Influences Criminal Activity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1093-1103, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:97:y:2015:i:5:p:1093-1103
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    daylight sving time; criminal activity; social cost;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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