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What Accounts for the Decline in Crime?

Author

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  • Imrohoroglu, A.
  • Merlo, A.
  • Rupert, P.

Abstract

In this paper we analyze recent trends in aggregate property crime rates in the United States. We propose a dynamic equilibrium model which guides our quantitative investigation of the major determinants of observed patterns of crime. Our main findings can be summarized as follows. First, the model is capable of reproducing the drop in crime between 1980 and 1996. Second, the most important factors that account for the observed decline in property crime are the higher apprehension probability, the stronger economy, and the aging of the population. Third, the effect of unemployment on crime is negligible. Fourth, the increased inequality prevented an even larger decline in crime. Overall, our analysis can account for the behavior of the time series of property crime rates over the past quarter century.

Suggested Citation

  • Imrohoroglu, A. & Merlo, A. & Rupert, P., 2000. "What Accounts for the Decline in Crime?," Working Papers 00-11, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cvs:starer:00-11
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    File URL: http://econ.as.nyu.edu/docs/IO/9188/RR00-11.PDF
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jeffrey Grogger, 1995. "The Effect of Arrests on the Employment and Earnings of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 51-71.
    2. Grogger, Jeff, 1998. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(4), pages 756-791, October.
    3. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-442, June.
    4. Isaac Ehrlich, 1996. "Crime, Punishment, and the Market for Offenses," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 43-67, Winter.
    5. Kenneth Burdett & Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2003. "Crime, Inequality, and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1764-1777, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    PROPERTY CRIME; INEQUALITY; DYNAMICS;

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • D58 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Computable and Other Applied General Equilibrium Models
    • D99 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Other

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