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Happiness and Beliefs in Criminal Environments

  • Rafael Di Tella
  • Robert MacCulloch
  • Hugo R. Ñopo

This paper uses newly available data to describe the distribution of crime victimization and other criminal activities (including drug trafficking and corruption) around the world. The paper then documents a negative (positive) correlation between measures of criminal activity and happiness and measures of positive (negative) emotions. The paper also studies the correlation between ideological beliefs and criminal activity, finding that crime victims are more likely to believe that hard work does not pay and that the government should increase the amount of redistribution to the poor.

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank in its series IDB Publications (Working Papers) with number 6518.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
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Handle: RePEc:idb:brikps:6518
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  1. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2000. "Well-Being Over Time in Britain and the USA," NBER Working Papers 7487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Sherwin Rosen, . "The Value of Changes in Life Expectancy," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 87-14, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  3. Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2003. "Unhappiness and Crime: Evidence from South Africa," Development and Comp Systems 0310003, EconWPA, revised 17 Mar 2004.
  4. Soares, Rodrigo R., 2006. "The welfare cost of violence across countries," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 821-846, September.
  5. Steven D. Levitt, 1999. "The changing relationship between income and crime victimization," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Sep, pages 87-98.
  6. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  7. DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Preferences over inflation and unemployment: Evidence from surveys of happiness," ZEI Working Papers B 03-2001, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  8. Alejandro Gaviria & Carmen Pagés-Serra, 1999. "Patterns of Crime Victimization in Latin America," Research Department Publications 4186, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  9. Thomas Piketty, 1994. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," Working papers 94-15, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  10. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2000. "Identifying welfare effects from subjective questions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2301, The World Bank.
  11. Alejandro Gaviria Uribe & Carlos Eduardo Vélez, 2001. "Who Bears the Burden of Crime in Colombia," INFORMES DE INVESTIGACIÓN 003776, FEDESARROLLO.
  12. Winkelmann, Liliana & Winkelmann, Rainer, 1998. "Why Are the Unemployed So Unhappy? Evidence from Panel Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 65(257), pages 1-15, February.
  13. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
  14. Fajnzylber, Pablo & Lederman, Daniel & Loayza, Norman, 2002. "Inequality and Violent Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(1), pages 1-40, April.
  15. Ludwig, Jens & Cook, Philip J, 2001. " The Benefits of Reducing Gun Violence: Evidence from Contingent-Valuation Survey Data," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 207-26, May.
  16. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
  17. Alex Michalos & Bruno Zumbo, 2000. "Criminal Victimization and the Quality of Life," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 50(3), pages 245-295, June.
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