IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The changing returns to crime: do criminals respond to prices?

Listed author(s):
  • Draca, Mirko
  • Koutmeridis, Theodore
  • Machin, Stephen

In economic models of crime individuals respond to changes in the potential value of criminal opportunities. We analyse this issue by estimating crime-price elasticities from detailed data on criminal incidents in London between 2002 and 2012. The unique data feature we exploit is a detailed classification of what goods were stolen in reported theft, robbery and burglary incidents. We first consider a panel of consumer goods covering the majority of market goods stolen in the crime incidents and find evidence of significant positive price elasticities. We then study a particular group of crimes that have risen sharply recently as world prices for them have risen, namely commodity related goods (jewellery, fuel and metal crimes), finding sizable elasticities when we instrument local UK prices by exogenous shifts in global commodity prices. Finally, we show that changes in the prices of loot from crime have played a role in explaining recent crime trends.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/62588/
File Function: Open access version.
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 62588.

as
in new window

Length: 67 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2015
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:62588
Contact details of provider: Postal:
LSE Library Portugal Street London, WC2A 2HD, U.K.

Phone: +44 (020) 7405 7686
Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Decline and Six that Do Not," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 163-190, Winter.
  2. Kessler, Daniel P & Levitt, Steven D, 1999. "Using Sentence Enhancements to Distinguish between Deterrence and Incapacitation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 343-363, April.
  3. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lovenheim, Michael F., 2008. "How Far to the Border?: The Extent and Impact of Cross-Border Casual Cigarette Smuggling," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 61(1), pages 7-33, March.
  5. Paolo Buonanno & Francesco Drago & Roberto Galbiati & Giulio Zanella, 2011. "Crime in Europe and the United States: dissecting the ‘reversal of misfortunes’," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 26(67), pages 347-385, July.
  6. Ben Vollaard & Jan C. van Ours, 2011. "Does Regulation of Built‐in Security Reduce Crime? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(552), pages 485-504, May.
  7. Denis Fougère & Francis Kramarz & Julien Pouget, 2009. "Youth Unemployment and Crime in France," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(5), pages 909-938, September.
  8. Steven D. Levitt & Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh, 2000. "An Economic Analysis of a Drug-Selling Gang's Finances," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 755-789.
  9. Ian Ayres & Steven D. Levitt, 1998. "Measuring Positive Externalities from Unobservable Victim Precaution: An Empirical Analysis of Lojack," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 43-77.
  10. William Harbaugh & Naci Mocan & Michael Visser, 2013. "Theft and Deterrence," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 34(4), pages 389-407, December.
  11. Eric D. Gould & Bruce A. Weinberg & David B. Mustard, 2002. "Crime Rates And Local Labor Market Opportunities In The United States: 1979-1997," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 45-61, February.
  12. Bidarkota, Prasad & Crucini, Mario J, 2000. "Commodity Prices and the Terms of Trade," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(4), pages 647-666, November.
  13. Mirko Draca & Stephen Machin, 2015. "Crime and Economic Incentives," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 7(1), pages 389-408, August.
  14. Grogger, Jeff, 1998. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(4), pages 756-791, October.
  15. Jan C. Ours & Ben Vollaard, 2016. "The Engine Immobiliser: A Non‐starter for Car Thieves," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(593), pages 1264-1291, June.
  16. Gruber, Jonathan & Sen, Anindya & Stabile, Mark, 2003. "Estimating price elasticities when there is smuggling: the sensitivity of smoking to price in Canada," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 821-842, September.
  17. Brian Bell & Laura Jaitman & Stephen Machin, 2014. "Crime Deterrence: Evidence From the London 2011 Riots," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0(576), pages 480-506, May.
  18. Viscusi, W Kip, 1986. "The Risks and Rewards of Criminal Activity: A Comprehensive Test of Criminal Deterrence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages 317-340, July.
  19. Chen, Mei-Hsiu, 2010. "Understanding world metals prices--Returns, volatility and diversification," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 127-140, September.
  20. Reilly, Barry & Witt, Robert, 2008. "Domestic burglaries and the real price of audio-visual goods: Some time series evidence for Britain," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 96-100, July.
  21. Isaac Ehrlich, 1996. "Crime, Punishment, and the Market for Offenses," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 43-67, Winter.
  22. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1973. "Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 521-565, May-June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:62588. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (LSERO Manager)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.