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Down and Out in Italian Towns: Measuring the Impact of Economic Downturns on Crime

  • Carlo Menon
  • Guido de Blasio

The paper investigates the effect of local economic conditions on crime. The study focuses on Italy's local labor markets and analyzes the short-term response of crime to the severe slump of 2007-2009. It shows that the downturn led to a significant increase in economic-related offenses that do not require particular criminal skills or tools (namely, thefts); on the other hand, for offenses for which specific skills and criminal experience are essential (say, robberies) the impact of the crisis was negative. The results also suggest that: i) labor market institutions (i.e. wage supplementary schemes and pro-worker contractual arrangements) had a role in slowing down the effect of the economy on crime; ii) the link between the downturn and crime was weaker in areas where the presence of organized crime is relatively more intensive.

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File URL: http://www.spatialeconomics.ac.uk/textonly/SERC/publications/download/sercdp0137.pdf
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Paper provided by Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE in its series SERC Discussion Papers with number secdp0137.

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Date of creation: Jun 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cep:sercdp:secdp0137
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.spatialeconomics.ac.uk/SERC/publications/default.asp

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  1. Steve Machin & Costas Meghir, 2000. "Crime and economic incentives," IFS Working Papers W00/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. Edward E. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1738, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 1996. "Why is There More Crime in Cities?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1746, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Bianchi, Milo & Buonanno, Paolo & Pinotti, Paolo, 2010. "Do Immigrants Cause Crime?," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1023, CEPREMAP.
  5. Joshua D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens, 1995. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0118, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Paolo Buonanno, 2005. "Crime and labour market opportunities in Italy (1993-2002)," Working Papers (-2012) 0504, University of Bergamo, Department of Economics.
  7. Paolo Pinotti, 2012. "The Economic Costs of Organized Crime: Evidence from Southern Italy," Working Papers 054, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
  8. Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Decline and Six that Do Not," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 163-190, Winter.
  9. Mustard, David B., 2010. "How Do Labor Markets Affect Crime? New Evidence on an Old Puzzle," IZA Discussion Papers 4856, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Fougère, Denis & Kramarz, Francis & Pouget, Julien, 2006. "Youth Unemployment and Crime in France," IZA Discussion Papers 2009, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Bignon, Vincent & Caroli, Eve & Galbiati, Roberto, 2011. "Stealing to Survive: Crime and Income Shocks in 19th Century France," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 1111, CEPREMAP, revised Feb 2013.
  12. Karin Edmark, 2005. "Unemployment and Crime: Is There a Connection?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(2), pages 353-373, 06.
  13. Mehlum, Halvor & Miguel, Edward & Torvik, Ragnar, 2006. "Poverty and crime in 19th century Germany," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 370-388, May.
  14. Freeman, Richard B., 1999. "The economics of crime," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 52, pages 3529-3571 Elsevier.
  15. Ichino, Andrea & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 1998. "Lower and Upper Bounds of Returns to Schooling: An Exercise in IV estimation with Different Instruments," CEPR Discussion Papers 2007, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Carlo Menon, 2012. "The bright side of MAUP: Defining new measures of industrial agglomeration," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 91(1), pages 3-28, 03.
  17. David B. Mustard, 2010. "Labor Markets and Crime: New Evidence on an Old Puzzle," Chapters, in: Handbook on the Economics of Crime, chapter 14 Edward Elgar.
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