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Inequality and Crime: Separating the Effects of Permanent and Transitory Income

Earlier studies on income inequality and crime have typically used total income or total earnings. However, it is quite likely that it is changes in permanent rather than in transitory income that affects crime rates. The purpose of this paper is therefore to disentangle the two effects by, first, estimating region-specific inequality in permanent and transitory income and, second, estimating crime equations with the two separate income components as explanatory variables. The results indicate that it is important to separate the two effects; while an increase in the inequality in permanent income yields a positive and significant effect on total crimes and three different property crimes, an increase in the inequality in transitory income has no significant effect on any type of crime. Using a traditional, aggregate, measure of income yields mainly insignificant effects on crime.

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Paper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 2005:20.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: 27 Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming in Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:2005_020
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
Web page: http://www.nek.uu.se/
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  1. Baker, Michael, 1997. "Growth-Rate Heterogeneity and the Covariance Structure of Life-Cycle Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(2), pages 338-75, April.
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  12. Bourguignon Francois, 2009. "Crime as a Social Cost of Poverty and Inequality: A Review Focusing on Developing countries," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
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  17. Nilsson, Anna & Agell, Jonas, 2003. "Crime, Unemployment and Labor Market Programs in Turbulent Times," Research Papers in Economics 2003:13, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  18. Edin, Per-Anders & Fredriksson, Peter, 2000. "LINDA - Longitudinal INdividual DAta for Sweden," Working Paper Series 2000:19, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  19. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Nilsson, Anna, 2004. "Income Inequality and Crime: The Case of Sweden," Research Papers in Economics 2004:3, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  21. Chamberlain, Gary, 1984. "Panel data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1247-1318 Elsevier.
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