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Stealing to Survive: Crime and Income Shocks in 19th Century France

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  • Bignon, Vincent
  • Caroli, Eve
  • Galbiati, Roberto

Abstract

Using department level administrative data from 1826 to 1936 we document the evolution of crime rates in 19th century France and we estimate the impact of a negative income shock on crime. Our identification strategy exploits the phylloxera crisis. Between 1863 and 1890, phylloxera destroyed about 40% of French vineyards. Using the departmental variation in the timing of this shock we instrument wine production and we identify the effects of the shock on property and violent crime rates. Our estimates suggest that the phylloxera crisis did not significantly impact on violent crimes but caused a strong increase in property crimes. A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that the phylloxera crisis caused an increase in property crime rates of about ten percent.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpm:docweb:1111
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    crime; income shock; phylloxera; 19th century France;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

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