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Youth Unemployment and Crime in France

  • Denis Fougère


  • Francis Kramarz


  • Julien Pouget


In this paper we examine the influence of unemployment on property crimes and on violentcrimes in France for the period 1990 to 2000. This analysis is the first extensive study for thiscountry. We construct a regional-level data set (for the 95 départements of metropolitanFrance) with measures of crimes as reported to the Ministry of Interior. To assess socialconditions prevailing in the département in that year, we construct measures of theunemployment rate as well as other social, economic and demographic variables usingmultiple waves of the French Labor Survey. We estimate a classic Becker type model inwhich unemployment is a measure of how potential criminals fare in the legitimate jobmarket. First, our estimates show that in the cross-section dimension, crime andunemployment are positively associated. Second, we find that increases in youthunemployment induce increases in crime. Using the predicted industrial structure toinstrument unemployment, we show that this effect is causal for burglaries, thefts, and drugoffences. To combat crime, it appears thus that all strategies designed to combat youthunemployment should be examined.

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Paper provided by Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique in its series Working Papers with number 2007-33.

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Length: 37
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:crs:wpaper:2007-33
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