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Crime, Unemployment and Labor Market Programs in Turbulent Times

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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File URL: http://www2.ne.su.se/paper/wp03_13.pdf
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Paper provided by Stockholm University, Department of Economics in its series Research Papers in Economics with number 2003:13.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 14 Oct 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:sunrpe:2003_0013
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46 8 16 20 00
Fax: +46 8 16 14 25
Web page: http://www.ne.su.se/
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  1. 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.
  2. Jeff Grogger, 1997. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," NBER Working Papers 5983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Dahlberg, Matz & Forslund, Anders, 1999. "Direct displacement effects of labour market programmes: the case of Sweden," Working Paper Series 1999:7, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  7. 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.
  8. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2001. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," NBER Working Papers 8605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Alan B. Krueger & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 1997. "A Statistical Analysis of Crime against Foreigners in Unified Germany," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(1), pages 182-209.
  10. Steve Machin & Costas Meghir, 2000. "Crime and economic incentives," IFS Working Papers W00/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  11. 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.
  12. Assar Lindbeck, 1997. "The Swedish Experiment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1273-1319, September.
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