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

  • François Bourguignon
  • Jairo Nuñez
  • Fabio Sanchez

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.

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Paper provided by DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure) in its series DELTA Working Papers with number 2003-04.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:del:abcdef:2003-04
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