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Crime, unemployment and labor market programs in turbulent times

  • Nilsson, Anna

    ()

    (Stockholm University)

  • Agell, Jonas

    ()

    (Stockholm University)

We exploit the exceptional variation in municipality-level unemployment and spending on labor market programs in Sweden during the 1990s to identify the impact of unemployment and programs on crime. We identify a statistically significant effect of unemployment on the incidence of overall crime, burglary, auto-theft and drug possession. A calculation suggests that the sharp reduction in unemployment during the later 1990s may have reduced burglary and auto-theft with 15 and 20 percent, respectively. After addressing several specification issues, we conclude that there is at best weak evidence that labor market programs – general ones and those specifically targeted to the young – help to reduce crime.

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Paper provided by IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy in its series Working Paper Series with number 2003:14.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 14 Oct 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2003_014
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  1. Jeff Grogger, 1997. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," NBER Working Papers 5983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Richard B. Freeman, 1996. "Why Do So Many Young American Men Commit Crimes and What Might We Do about It?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 25-42, Winter.
  3. Dahlberg, M. & Forslund, A., 1999. "Direct Displacement Effects of Labour Market Programmes: the Case of Sweden," Papers 1999:22, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  4. Alan B. Krueger & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1995. "A Statistical Analysis of Crime Against Foreigners in Unified Germany," Working papers 95-15, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Steve Machin & Costas Meghir, 2000. "Crime and economic incentives," IFS Working Papers W00/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  6. Assar Lindbeck, 1997. "The Swedish Experiment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1273-1319, September.
  7. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2004. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 155-189, March.
  8. Calmfors, Lars & Forslund, Anders & Hemström, Maria, 2002. "Does active labour market policy work? Lessons from the Swedish experiences," Working Paper Series 2002:4, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  9. Freeman, Richard B., 1999. "The economics of crime," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 52, pages 3529-3571 Elsevier.
  10. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Lawrence F. Katz, 1992. "Regional Evolutions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(1), pages 1-76.
  11. Raphael, Steven & Winter-Ember, Rudolf, 2001. "Identifying the Effect of Unemployment on Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(1), pages 259-83, April.
  12. Steven D. Levitt, 1995. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Policeon Crime," NBER Working Papers 4991, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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