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Crime, Justice, and Growth in South Africa: Toward a Plausible Contribution from Criminal Justice to Economic Growth


  • Stone, Christopher

    (Harvard U)


Crime in South Africa is high and widely believed to restrain investment. Nevertheless, both the mechanisms through which crime constrains growth and the actions that might be taken to loosen its grip are poorly understood. In light of the limited knowledge in the field and the limited capacity of criminal justice institutions, this paper proposes focusing on two issues: (1) the costs of crime to business, especially household-based enterprises in low-income settlements, and (2) the perception of violent crime. In both cases, the paper proposes a cyclical process of iterative innovation in which government seeks to solve narrowly circumscribed crime problems, and then leverages each success to generate wider hope and confidence in the criminal justice system. [Jointly published as Center for International Development Working Paper No. 131 and KSG Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP06-038.]

Suggested Citation

  • Stone, Christopher, 2006. "Crime, Justice, and Growth in South Africa: Toward a Plausible Contribution from Criminal Justice to Economic Growth," Working Paper Series rwp06-038, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp06-038

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. da Mata, D. & Deichmann, U. & Henderson, J.V. & Lall, S.V. & Wang, H.G., 2007. "Determinants of city growth in Brazil," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 252-272, September.
    2. Demombynes, Gabriel & Ozler, Berk, 2005. "Crime and local inequality in South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 265-292, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Enamorado, Ted & López-Calva, Luis F. & Rodríguez-Castelán, Carlos, 2014. "Crime and growth convergence: Evidence from Mexico," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 125(1), pages 9-13.
    2. Breetzke, Gregory Dennis, 2010. "Modeling violent crime rates: A test of social disorganization in the city of Tshwane, South Africa," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 446-452, July.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law


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