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Immigration, Crime, and Crime (Mis)Perceptions

Author

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  • Ajzenman, Nicolas

    (McGill University)

  • Dominguez-Rivera, Patricio

    (Inter-American Development Bank)

  • Undurraga, Raimundo

    (University of Chile)

Abstract

This paper studies the effects of immigration on crime and crime perceptions in Chile, where the foreign-born population more than doubled in the last decade. By using individual-level victimization data, we document null effects of immigration on crime but positive and significant effects on crime-related concerns, which in turn triggered preventive behavioral responses, such as investing in home-security. Our results are robust across a two-way fixed effects model and an IV strategy based on a shift-share instrument that exploits immigration inflows towards destination countries other than Chile. On mechanisms, we examine data on crime-related news on TV and in newspapers, and find a disproportionate coverage of immigrant-perpetrated homicides as well as a larger effect of immigration on crime perceptions in municipalities with a stronger media presence. These effects might explain the widening gap between actual crime trends and public perceptions of crime.

Suggested Citation

  • Ajzenman, Nicolas & Dominguez-Rivera, Patricio & Undurraga, Raimundo, 2021. "Immigration, Crime, and Crime (Mis)Perceptions," IZA Discussion Papers 14087, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp14087
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    2. Ibanez, Ana Maria & Rozo, Sandra V. & Bahar, Dany, 2020. "Empowering Migrants: Impacts of a Migrant's Amnesty on Crime Reports," IZA Discussion Papers 13889, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    crime; immigration; crime perception; media; crime beliefs;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • K1 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law

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