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Do immigrants cause crime?

  • Milo Bianchi

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris)

  • Paolo Buonanno

    (University of Bergamo - University of Bergamo)

  • Paolo Pinotti

    (Bank of Italy - Bank of Italy)

In this paper we examine the empirical relationship between immigration and crime across Italian provinces during the period 1990-2003. Drawing on police administrative data, we first document that the size of immigrant population is positively correlated with the incidence of property crimes and with the overall crime rate. Then, we use instrumental variables based on migration toward other European countries to identify the causal impact of exogenous changes of immigrant population in Italy. According to these estimates, immigration increases only the incidence of robberies, while leaving unaffected all other types of crime. Since robberies represent a very minor fraction of all criminal offenses, the effect on the overall crime rate is not significantly different from zero.

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Date of creation: Nov 2008
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00586864
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