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I Am Innocent: Hourly Variations in Air Pollution and Crime Behavior

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  • Luis Sarmiento

Abstract

I posit that hourly changes in air pollution affect criminality through two distinct pathways, via physiological effects on the criminal and by changes in the tightness of the market for criminal activities. To disentangle individual from market effects, I develop a behavioral model of the individual decision to transgress and a model of search-and-matching frictions between criminals and crime opportunities. The study examines the impact on the four largest cities in North America. Causality emerges from instrumental variable panel-models. Results show that pollution increases violent and unpremeditated crimes while decreasing burglaries and sexual offenses through a reduction of crime opportunities.

Suggested Citation

  • Luis Sarmiento, 2020. "I Am Innocent: Hourly Variations in Air Pollution and Crime Behavior," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1879, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1879
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Local air pollution; criminality; external effects; prospect theory; search and matching frictions; panel models;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • K14 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Criminal Law
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies

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