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Do 'Broken Windows' Matter? Identifying Dynamic Spillovers in Criminal Behavior

  • Gregorio Caetano


    (University of Rochester)

  • Vikram Maheshri


    (University of Houston)

The “Broken Windows†theory of crime prescribes “zero-tolerance†law enforcement policies that disproportionately target light crimes with the understanding that this will lead to future reductions of more severe crimes. We provide evidence against the effectiveness of such policies using a novel database from Dallas. Our identification strategy explores detailed geographic and temporal variation to isolate the causal behavioral effect of prior crimes on future crimes and is robust to a variety of sources of potential endogeneity. We also estimate the effectiveness of alternative targeting policies to discuss the efficiency of “Broken Windows†inspired policies.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Houston in its series Working Papers with number 2013-252-22.

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Date of creation: 09 May 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hou:wpaper:2013-252-22
Contact details of provider: Postal: Houston TX 77023
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