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The Effect of Crime on Life Satisfaction

Listed author(s):
  • Mark A. Cohen

Crime often ranks at the top of public concern, and a majority of the public report they sometimes worry about crime. Yet we know little about crime's impact on day-to-day quality of life. This paper provides new evidence on crime's effect on life satisfaction using a combination of victimization and subjective survey data. I find that county-level crime rates and perceived neighborhood safety have little impact on overall life satisfaction. In contrast, the effect of a home burglary on life satisfaction is quite large-nearly as much as moving from excellent health to good health. In monetary terms, I estimate a compensating income equivalent of nearly $85,000 for a home burglary. Thus, while being burglarized has a large and significant effect on a victim's overall life satisfaction, neither county-level crime rates nor neighborhood safety appear to have very large effects on daily life satisfaction for the average American. (c) 2008 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/588220
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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Legal Studies.

Volume (Year): 37 (2008)
Issue (Month): S2 (06)
Pages: 325-353

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:37:y:2008:i:s2:p:s325-s353
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLS/

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  1. Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2005. "Unhappiness and Crime: Evidence from South Africa," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 72(3), pages 531-547, 08.
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  8. Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2010. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232588.
  9. Thaler, Richard, 1978. "A note on the value of crime control: Evidence from the property market," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 137-145, January.
  10. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger, 2006. "Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
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