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Immigration and crime: an empirical analysis


  • Milo Bianchi

    () (Paris School of Economics)

  • Paolo Buonanno

    () (Universit� di Bergamo)

  • Paolo Pinotti

    () (Banca d'Italia)


In this paper we examine the empirical relationship between immigration and crime across Italian provinces during the period 1990-2003. Drawing on police data, we first document that the size of the immigrant population is positively correlated with the incidence of property crimes and with the overall crime rate. We then use instrumental variables based on migration towards other European countries to identify the causal impact of exogenous changes in the immigrant population of Italy. According to these estimates, immigration increases only the incidence of robberies and has no effect on all other types of crime. Since robberies represent a very small fraction of all criminal offences, the effect on the overall crime rate is not significantly different from zero.

Suggested Citation

  • Milo Bianchi & Paolo Buonanno & Paolo Pinotti, 2008. "Immigration and crime: an empirical analysis," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 698, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_698_08

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Sona Kalantaryan, 2013. "Housing Market Responses to Immigration; Evidence from Italy," RSCAS Working Papers 2013/83, European University Institute.
    2. Talamo, Giuseppina Maria Chiara, 2010. "Immigrazione, criminalità e sviluppo economico: un’analisi economica sulla situazione in Italia
      [Immigration, crime and economic development: an economic analysis of the Italian situation]
      ," MPRA Paper 35859, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2010.
    3. Gaetano Lisi, 2010. "The Strange Case of Dr. “Unemployed” and Mr “Hidden” in Italy," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 30(4), pages 2802-2816.

    More about this item


    immigration; crime;

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • R10 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General

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