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Climate Variability and Theft in Colombia


  • Rafael Isidro PARRA-PEÑA S


  • Barry REILLY



The objective of this study is to estimate the causal impact of the most recent extreme weather event (EWE) in Colombia (‘La Niña’ between 2010-2011), labelled as the ‘winter wave’ by the local media, on persons, houses, business and car theft rates in municipalities subject to the treatment of this EWE. Using a novel annual municipal panel dataset (2007-2012, inclusive), and measuring the affected areas according to the number of houses damaged and destroyed, this study relies on a Difference-in-Difference (D-i-D) model to show that the concurrent year of the winter wave brought a decrease in theft rates, especially, theft from persons. This may be perhaps attributable to the emergence of pro-social behaviour in the municipalities most affected. We also find an increase in theft from houses possibly linked to a ‘survival mechanism’, rather than one that one that seeks reward like the type the BECKER (1968) model of crime and punishment. In addition, the D-i-D estimates also reveal that the presence of conflict, in general, discourages theft perhaps due to the establishment of coercive institutions by illegal armed groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Rafael Isidro PARRA-PEÑA S & Barry REILLY, 2018. "Climate Variability and Theft in Colombia," Archivos de Economía 016430, Departamento Nacional de Planeación.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000118:016430

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    Cited by:

    1. Tanvir Pavel & Syed Hasan & Nafisa Halim & Pallab Mozumder, 2018. "Natural Hazards and Internal Migration: The Role of Transient versus Permanent Shocks," Working Papers 1806, Florida International University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item


    Natural Disasters; Environmental Economics; Violence; Crime; Weather; Climate Variability; and Climate Change;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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