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Racial Beliefs, Location and the Causes of Crime

  • Verdier, Thierry



  • Zenou, Yves


    (The Research Institute of Industrial Economics)

This paper provides a unified explanation for why blacks commit more crime, are located in poorer neighborhoods and receive lower wages than whites. If everybody believes that blacks are more criminal than whites - even if there is no basis for this - then blacks are offered lower wages and, as a result, locate further away from jobs. Distant residence increases even more the black-white wage gap because of more tiredness and higher commuting costs. Blacks have thus a lower opportunity cost of committing crime and become indeed more criminal than whites. Therefore beliefs are self-fulfilling.

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Paper provided by Research Institute of Industrial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 602.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: 21 Oct 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0602
Contact details of provider: Postal: Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46 8 665 4500
Fax: +46 8 665 4599
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  2. Case, A.C. & Katz, L.F., 1991. "The Company You Keep: The Effects Of Family And Neighborhood On Disadvantaged Younths," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1555, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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  9. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew E. Kahn & Jordan Rappaport, 2000. "Why Do The Poor Live In Cities?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1891, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  10. Verdier, Thierry & Zenou, Yves, 2000. "Racial Beliefs, Location And The Causes Of Crime," CEPR Discussion Papers 2455, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Piketty, Thomas, 1998. "Self-fulfilling beliefs about social status," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 115-132, October.
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  14. 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.
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  19. Scott South & Kyle Crowder, 1997. "Residential mobility between cities and suburbs: race, suburbanization, and back-to-the-city moves," Demography, Springer, vol. 34(4), pages 525-538, November.
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  23. Deutsch, Joseph & Hakim, Simon & Weinblatt, J., 1987. "A micro model of the criminal's location choice," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 198-208, September.
  24. Jeff Grogger & Michael Willis, 2000. "The Emergence Of Crack Cocaine And The Rise In Urban Crime Rates," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 519-529, November.
  25. Acemoglu, Daron, 1995. "Public Policy in a Model of Long-Term Unemployment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 62(246), pages 161-78, May.
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  28. Farmer, Amy & Terrell, Dek, 1996. "Discrimination, Bayesian Updating of Employer Beliefs and Human Capital Accumulation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(2), pages 204-19, April.
  29. Grogger, Jeff, 1998. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(4), pages 756-91, October.
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