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Crime Distribution and Victim Behavior during a Crime Wave

In: The Economics of Crime: Lessons for and from Latin America

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  • Rafael Di Tella
  • Sebastian Galiani
  • Ernesto Schargrodsky

Abstract

The study of how crime affects different income groups faces several difficulties. The first is that crime-avoiding activities vary across income groups. Thus, a lower victimization rate in one group may not reflect a lower burden of crime, but rather a higher investment in avoiding crime. A second difficulty is that, typically, only a small fraction of the population is victimized so that empirical tests often lack the statistical power to detect differences across groups. We take advantage of a dramatic increase in crime rates in Argentina during the late 1990s to document several interesting patterns. First, the increase in victimization experienced by the poor is larger than the increase endured by the rich. The difference appears large: low-income people have experienced increases in victimization rates that are almost 50 percent higher than those suffered by high-income people. Second, for home robberies, where the rich can protect themselves (by hiring private security, for example), we find significantly larger increases in victimization rates amongst the poor. In contrast, for robberies on the street, where the rich can only mimic the poor, we find similar increases in victimization for both income groups. Third, we document direct evidence on pecuniary and non-pecuniary protection activities by both the rich and poor, ranging from the avoidance of dark places to the hiring of private security. Fourth, we show the correlations between changes in protection and mimicking and changes in crime victimization. Fifth, we offer one possible way of using these estimates to explain the incidence of crime across income groups.
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Suggested Citation

  • Rafael Di Tella & Sebastian Galiani & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2010. "Crime Distribution and Victim Behavior during a Crime Wave," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Crime: Lessons for and from Latin America, pages 175-204 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11839
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    Cited by:

    1. Baumann, Florian & Friehe, Tim, 2013. "Private protection against crime when property value is private information," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 73-79.
    2. Walter Sosa Escudero & Anil K. Bera, 2008. "Tests for Unbalanced Error Component Models Under Local Misspecication," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0065, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    3. Moreno-Sanchez, Rocio del Pilar & Maldonado, Jorge Higinio & Wunder, Sven & Borda, Carlos Andres, 2009. "Do Environmental Services Buyers Prefer Differentiated Rates? A Case Study from the Colombian Andes," Documentos CEDE Series 91171, Universidad de Los Andes, Economics Department.
    4. Ricardo Bebczuk & Francisco Haimovich, 2007. "MDGs and Microcredit: An Empirical Evaluation for Latin American Countries," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0048, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    5. Diego Battiston & Francisco Franchetti, 2008. "Inequality in Health Coverage, Empirical Analysis with Microdata for Argentina 2006," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0063, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    6. Daniel Mejía & María José Uribe, 2011. "Is Violence Against Union Members in Colombia Systematic and Targeted?," ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, vol. 0(Fall 2011), pages 119-154, August.
    7. Sebastian Galiani & Federico Weinschelbaum, 2012. "Modeling Informality Formally: Households And Firms," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(3), pages 821-838, July.
    8. Mariana Marchionni & Germán Bet & Ana Pacheco, 2007. "Empleo, Educación y Entorno Social de los Jóvenes: Una Nueva Fuente de Información," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0061, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    9. Zimmerman, Paul R., 2010. "Deterrence from self-protection measures in the ‘market model’ of crime: dynamic panel data estimates from employment in private security occupations," MPRA Paper 26187, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Paula Giovagnoli, 2007. "Failures in school progression," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0050, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    11. Ricardo Bebczuk, 2009. "SME Access to Credit in Guatemala and Nicaragua: Challenging Conventional Wisdom with New Evidence," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0080, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    12. Ricardo N. Bebczuk, 2008. "Dolarización y Pobreza en Ecuador," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0066, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    13. Zimmerman, Paul R., 2014. "The deterrence of crime through private security efforts: Theory and evidence," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 66-75.
    14. Leopoldo Tornarolli & Adriana Conconi, 2007. "Informalidad y Movilidad Laboral: Un Análisis Empírico para Argentina," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0059, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.

    More about this item

    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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