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Immigrant Enclaves and Crime

  • Bell, Brian


    (London School of Economics)

  • Machin, Stephen


    (University College London)

There is conflicting evidence on the consequences of immigrant neighbourhood segregation for individual outcomes, with various studies finding positive, negative or insubstantial effects. In this paper, we document the evolution of immigrant segregation in England over the last 40 years. We show that standard measures of segregation point to gentle declines over time for all immigrant groups. However, this hides a significant increase in the number of immigrant enclaves where immigrants account for a substantial fraction of the local population. We then explore the link between immigrant segregation, enclaves and crime using both recorded crime and self-reported crime victimization data. Controlling for a rich set of observables, we find that crime is substantially lower in those neighbourhoods with sizeable immigrant population shares. The effect is non-linear and only becomes significant in enclaves. It is present for both natives and immigrants living in such neighbourhoods. Considering different crime types, the evidence suggests that such neighbourhoods benefit from a reduction in more minor, non-violent crimes. We discuss possible mechanisms for the results we observe.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6205.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Regional Science, 2013, 53 (1), 118–141
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6205
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  1. Brian Bell & Stephen Machin & Francesco Fasani, 2010. "Crime and immigration: evidence from large immigrant waves," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28732, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Anna Piil Damm, 2009. "Ethnic Enclaves and Immigrant Labor Market Outcomes: Quasi-Experimental Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 281-314, 04.
  3. Vigdor, Jacob L. & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2008. "Is the Melting Pot Still Hot? Explaining the Resurgence of Immigrant Segregation," Scholarly Articles 2664275, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Vigdor, Jacob & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2008. "When Are Ghettos Bad? Lessons from Immigrant Segregation In the United States," Scholarly Articles 2666726, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abow91-1, July.
  6. Cutler, David & Vigdor, Jacob & Glaeser, Edward, 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Scholarly Articles 2770033, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Edin, P.-A. & Fredriksson, P. & Aslund, O., 2000. "Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Papers 2000:21, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  8. Case, A.C. & Katz, L.F., 1991. "The Company You Keep: The Effects Of Family And Neighborhood On Disadvantaged Younths," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1555, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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