The Impact of Macroeconomic Conditions on Property Crime
This paper examines the impact of inflation, (un)employment, and stock market growth on the rates of larceny, burglary, motor vehicle theft, and robbery. The study uses U.S. data for the time period 1948 to 2009. We employ an unobserved component approach to circumvent the problems associated with omitted variables. We find that the three macroeconomic variables have a statistically significant impact for most of the property crime rates. However, taken together the macroeconomic variables explain no more than 15 percent of the surge in property crimes from the 1960 to the 1980s and their subsequent fall during the 1990s. Among the macroeconomic variables, almost all of the explanatory power is provided by changes in the inflation rate.
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