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What part of the income distribution does matter for explaining crime ? The case of Columbia

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  • François Bourguignon
  • Jairo Nuñez
  • Fabio Sanchez

Abstract

Economic theory suggests that inequality should influence crime positively. Yet, the evidence in favor of that hypothesis is weak. Pure cross-sectional analyses show significant positive effects but cannot control for fixed effects. Time series and panel data point to a variety of results, but few turn out being significant. The hypothesis maintained in this paper is that it is a specific part of the distribution, rather than the overall distribution as summarized by conventional inequality measures, that is most likely to influence the rate of (property) crime in a given society. Using a simple theoretical model and panel data in 7 Colombian cities over a 15 year period, a structural model is proposed that permits identifying the precise segment of the population whose relative income best explains time changes in crime.

Suggested Citation

  • François Bourguignon & Jairo Nuñez & Fabio Sanchez, 2003. "What part of the income distribution does matter for explaining crime ? The case of Columbia," DELTA Working Papers 2003-04, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  • Handle: RePEc:del:abcdef:2003-04
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    Cited by:

    1. M. B. Gordon & J. R. Iglesias & V. Semeshenko & J. P. Nadal, 2009. "Crime and punishment: the economic burden of impunity," The European Physical Journal B: Condensed Matter and Complex Systems, Springer;EDP Sciences, vol. 68(1), pages 133-144, March.
    2. Alexander Cotte Poveda, 2012. "Estimating Effectiveness of the Control of Violence and Socioeconomic Development in Colombia: An Application of Dynamic Data Envelopment Analysis and Data Panel Approach," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 105(3), pages 343-366, February.
    3. Nilsson, Anna, 2004. "Income Inequality and Crime: The Case of Sweden," Research Papers in Economics 2004:3, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.

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