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The impact of natural disasters on crime




This study addresses the following questions in the context of a developing coun- try. Do crimes increase following natural disasters? Does an upcoming election or the presence of a strong local media, which potentially increases the incentive of the gov- ernment to provide disaster relief, mitigate the e ect of disasters on crime rates? I nd that crime rates tend to increase following moderate to big disasters. Furthermore, a higher pre-disaster growth of newspapers has a mitigating e ect on the crime response to disasters. Elections also in uence the crime response to disasters. Crimes are more likely to rise following disasters in the years that are close to an election year.

Suggested Citation

  • Susmita Roy, 2010. "The impact of natural disasters on crime," Working Papers in Economics 10/57, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:cbt:econwp:10/57

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Matthew E. Kahn, 2005. "The Death Toll from Natural Disasters: The Role of Income, Geography, and Institutions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 271-284, May.
    2. Durlauf, Steven N. & Navarro, Salvador & Rivers, David A., 2010. "Understanding aggregate crime regressions," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 158(2), pages 306-317, October.
    3. Toya, Hideki & Skidmore, Mark, 2007. "Economic development and the impacts of natural disasters," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 20-25, January.
    4. Cole, Shawn & Healy, Andrew & Werker, Eric, 2012. "Do voters demand responsive governments? Evidence from Indian disaster relief," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 167-181.
    5. Finlay, Jocelyn E., 2009. "Fertility response to natural disasters : the case of three high mortality earthquakes," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4883, The World Bank.
    6. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1973. "Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 521-565, May-June.
    7. Thomas Eisensee & David Strömberg, 2007. "News Droughts, News Floods, and U. S. Disaster Relief," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 693-728.
    8. Khemani, Stuti, 2004. "Political cycles in a developing economy: effect of elections in the Indian States," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 125-154, February.
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    More about this item


    crime rate; natural disaster; role of media and elections; developing country;

    JEL classification:

    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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