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City business cycles and crime

Author

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  • Thomas A. Garrett
  • Lesli S. Ott

Abstract

We explore the influence of city-level business cycle fluctuations on crime in 20 large cities in the United States. Our monthly time series analysis considers seven crimes over an approximately 20-year period: murder, rape, assault, robbery, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. Short-run changes in economic conditions, as measured by changes in unemployment and wages, are found to have little effect on city crime across many cities, but property crimes were more likely to be influenced by changes in economic conditions than were more violent crimes. Contrary to the deterrence hypothesis, we find strong evidence that in many cities more arrests follow from an increase in crime rather than arrests leading to a decrease in crime. This is true especially for the more visible crimes of robbery and vehicle theft and suggests that city officials desire to remove these crimes from the public's view.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas A. Garrett & Lesli S. Ott, 2008. "City business cycles and crime," Working Papers 2008-026, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2008-026
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Konov, Joshua Ioji / JK, 2011. "Piercing the Veil’s Effect on Corporate Human Rights Violations & International Corporate Crime (Human Trafficking, Slavery, etc)," MPRA Paper 35714, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Sourav Batabyal, 2011. "Temporal Causality and the Dynamics of Crime and Delinquency," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 39(4), pages 421-441, December.

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    Keywords

    Business cycles ; Cities and towns ; Crime;

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