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The Effect of Employment Frictions on Crime: Theory and Estimation

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  • Bryan Engelhardt

    () (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)

Abstract

I investigate how long it takes for released inmates to find a job, and when they find a job, how their incarceration rate changes. An on-the-job search model with crime is used to model criminal behavior, derive the estimation method and analyze several policies including a job placement program. The results show the unemployed are incarcerated twice as fast as the employed and take on average four months to find a job. Combining these results, it is demonstrated that reducing the average unemployment spell of criminals by two months reduces crime and recidivism by more than five percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Bryan Engelhardt, 2008. "The Effect of Employment Frictions on Crime: Theory and Estimation," Working Papers 0805, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hcx:wpaper:0805
    as

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    File URL: http://web.holycross.edu/RePEc/hcx/HC0805-Engelhardt_CrimeEmployment.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Zvi Eckstein & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1995. "Duration to First Job and the Return to Schooling: Estimates from a Search-Matching Model," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(2), pages 263-286.
    2. Bowlus, Audra J & Kiefer, Nicholas M & Neumann, George R, 1995. "Estimation of Equilibrium Wage Distributions with Heterogeneity," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(S), pages 119-131, Suppl. De.
    3. Imrohoroglu, Ayse & Merlo, Antonio & Rupert, Peter, 2000. "On the Political Economy of Income Redistribution and Crime," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(1), pages 1-25, February.
    4. Bontemps, Christian & Robin, Jean-Marc & van den Berg, Gerard J, 2000. "Equilibrium Search with Continuous Productivity Dispersion: Theory and Nonparametric Estimation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(2), pages 305-358, May.
    5. Steven D. Levitt, 1996. "The Effect of Prison Population Size on Crime Rates: Evidence from Prison Overcrowding Litigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 319-351.
    6. Jeffrey Grogger, 1995. "The Effect of Arrests on the Employment and Earnings of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 51-71.
    7. Christopher J. Flinn, 2006. "Minimum Wage Effects on Labor Market Outcomes under Search, Matching, and Endogenous Contact Rates," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(4), pages 1013-1062, July.
    8. Bontemps, Christian & Robin, Jean-Marc & Van den Berg, Gerard J, 1999. "An Empirical Equilibrium Job Search Model with Search on the Job and Heterogeneous Workers and Firms," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1039-1074, November.
    9. Engelhardt, Bryan & Rocheteau, Guillaume & Rupert, Peter, 2008. "Crime and the labor market: A search model with optimal contracts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 1876-1891, October.
    10. Kenneth Burdett & Ricardo Lagos & Randall Wright, 2003. "Crime, Inequality, and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1764-1777, December.
    11. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-273, May.
    12. Levitt, Steven D, 1997. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 270-290, June.
    13. Grogger, Jeff, 1998. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(4), pages 756-791, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    crime; search; unemployment; wage dispersion;

    JEL classification:

    • C41 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Duration Analysis; Optimal Timing Strategies
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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