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There will be blood: Crime rates in shale-rich U.S. counties

Author

Listed:
  • Alexander James

    () (Department of Economics and Public Policy, University of Alaska Anchorage)

  • Brock Smith

    () (Center for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, Department of Economics, University of Oxford)

Abstract

Over the past decade, the production of shale oil and gas significantly increased in the United States. This paper uniquely examines how this energy boom has affected regional crime rates throughout the United States. There is evidence that, as a result of the ongoing shale-energy boom, shale-rich counties experienced faster growth in rates of both property and violent crimes including rape, assault, murder, robbery, burglary, larceny and grand-theft auto. These results are particularly robust for rates of assault, and less so for other types of crimes. Examining the migratory behavior of convicted sex offenders indicates that boomtowns disproportionately attract convicted felons. Policy makers should anticipate these effects and invest in public infrastructure accordingly.

Suggested Citation

  • Alexander James & Brock Smith, 2014. "There will be blood: Crime rates in shale-rich U.S. counties," Working Papers 2014-04, University of Alaska Anchorage, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ala:wpaper:2014-04
    as

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    File URL: http://www.econpapers.uaa.alaska.edu/RePEC/ala/wpaper/ALA201404.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Natural Resources; Hydraulic Fracturing; Crime; Resource Curse;

    JEL classification:

    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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