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Unemployment and Gang Crime: Could Prosperity Backfire?

  • Poutvaara, Panu

    ()

    (University of Munich)

  • Priks, Mikael

    ()

    (University of Munich)

Empirical evidence reveals that unemployment tends to increase property crime but that it has no effect on violent crime. To explain these facts, we examine a model of criminal gangs and suggest that there is a substitution effect between property crime and violent crime at work. In the model, non-monetary valuation of gang membership is private knowledge. Thus the leaders face a trade-off between less crime per member in large gangs and more crime per member in small gangs. Unemployment increases the relative attractiveness of large and less violent gangs engaging more in property crime.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp2710.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2710.

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Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as 'Unemployment and gang crime: can prosperity backfire?' in: Economics of Governance, 2011, 12 (3), 259 - 273
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2710
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  1. Stergios Skaperdas, 2001. "The political economy of organized crime: providing protection when the state does not," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 2(3), pages 173-202, November.
  2. Raphael, Steven & Winter-Ember, Rudolf, 2001. "Identifying the Effect of Unemployment on Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(1), pages 259-83, April.
  3. Steven D. Levitt & Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh, 2000. "An Economic Analysis Of A Drug-Selling Gang'S Finances," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 755-789, August.
  4. Abdala Mansour & Nicolas Marceau & Steeve Mongrain, 2006. "Gangs and Crime Deterrence," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(2), pages 315-339, October.
  5. Konrad, Kai A. & Skaperdas, Stergios, 1997. "Credible threats in extortion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 23-39, May.
  6. Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Decline and Six that Do Not," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 163-190, Winter.
  7. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
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