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Income inequality and crime: The case of Sweden


  • Nilsson, Anna

    (Department of Economics, Stockholm University)


The degree of income inequality in Sweden has varied substantially since the 1970s. This study analyzes whether this variation has affected the crime rate using a panel of Swedish county-level data for the period 1973–2000. We consider various measures of income inequality to evaluate which part of the distribution that matters most in determining crime rates. Our results indicate that there is a statistically significant positive effect of the proportion of the population with an income below 10 percent of median income on the incidence of property crime. Moreover, the unemployment rate has a positive effect on the incidence of the number of overall crime, auto thefts and robberies. The results look different for the violent crime category assault

Suggested Citation

  • Nilsson, Anna, 2004. "Income inequality and crime: The case of Sweden," Working Paper Series 2004:6, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2004_006

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ahad, Muhammad, 2016. "Nexus Between Income Inequality, Crime, Inflation and Poverty: New Evidence from Structural Breaks for Pakistan," MPRA Paper 72429, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2016.
    2. Mark J. Garmaise & Tobias J. Moskowitz, 2004. "Bank Mergers and Crime: The Real and Social Effects of Credit Market Competition," NBER Working Papers 11006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Martin Sˆderstrˆm & Roope Uusitalo, 2010. "School Choice and Segregation: Evidence from an Admission Reform," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 112(1), pages 55-76, March.
    4. Matz Dahlberg & Magnus Gustavsson, 2008. "Inequality and Crime: Separating the Effects of Permanent and Transitory Income," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 70(2), pages 129-153, April.
    5. van den Berg, Gerard J & Lindeboom, Maarten & Dolton, Peter J, 2004. "Survey non-response and unemployment duration," Working Paper Series 2004:12, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    6. Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Vassilis Tselios, 2010. "Inequalities in income and education and regional economic growth in western Europe," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 44(2), pages 349-375, April.
    7. Larsson, Laura & Nordström Skans, Oskar, 2004. "Early indication of program performance: The case of a Swedish temporary employment program," Working Paper Series 2004:7, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    8. Ayse İmrohoroĝlu & Antonio Merlo & Peter Rupert, 2006. "Understanding the determinants of crime," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer;Academy of Economics and Finance, vol. 30(2), pages 270-284, June.
    9. Yoonseok Lee, Donggyun Shin, Kwanho Shin, 2013. "Social Consequences of Economic Segregation," Korean Economic Review, Korean Economic Association, vol. 29, pages 189-210.
    10. Choe, Jongmook, 2008. "Income inequality and crime in the United States," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 101(1), pages 31-33, October.
    11. Cantoni, Eva & de Luna, Xavier, 2004. "Non-parametric adjustment for covariates when estimating a treatment effect," Working Paper Series 2004:9, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.

    More about this item


    Crime; income inequality; panel data;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General
    • K40 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - General

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