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Shaking Criminal Incentives

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  • Aoki, Yu

    () (University of Aberdeen)

  • Koutmeridis, Theodore

    () (University of Glasgow)

Abstract

We study criminal incentives exploiting the devastating shock of the 1995 Kobe earthquake. Evidence shows that the earthquake decreased burglaries but left other crime types unaffected. The effect stays significant even after controlling for unemployment, policing and income. We corroborate this by instrumenting damages with the distance from the earthquake epicentre. These findings survive various robustness checks under different specifications. The evidence is consistent with a simple theory of crime, value and specialization. We conclude that burglars respond to damages that devaluate their prospective takings. Yet, they cannot shift their specialization and substitute burglaries with other crime types.

Suggested Citation

  • Aoki, Yu & Koutmeridis, Theodore, 2019. "Shaking Criminal Incentives," IZA Discussion Papers 12781, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp12781
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    2. García Hombrados, Jorge, 2020. "The lasting effects of natural disasters on property crime: Evidence from the 2010 Chilean earthquake," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 175(C), pages 114-154.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    crime; burglary; value; housing damage; specialization;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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