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The Socioeconomic Determinants of Crime. A Review of the Literature

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  • Paolo Buonanno

    () (Department of Economics, University of Milan-Bicocca)

Abstract

Starting from Becker’s seminal paper we review the first contributions to the economics of crime, stressing how with the first model of criminal choice, due to Becker, the way of conceiving criminal behaviours has drastically changed. In fact, criminal choice ceases to be viewed as determined by mental illness or bad attitudes, but it is considered on the basis of a maximization problem in which agents have to compare costs and benefits of legal and illegal activities taking in account the probability of being arrested and punished and the expected returns from crime. Criminal decision is an economic choice by rational agents. In the second part of the survey, in which we focus our attention on empirical works, we present the main recent contributions to the economics of crime; in particular we outline the determinants of criminal behaviours and explore the relationships existing between crime and socioeconomic variables emerging from the literature. In fact, the economics of crime interacts with different and heterogeneous fields (i.e. sociology, criminology, psychiatry and geography). It is closely related to poverty, social exclusion, wage and income inequality, cultural and family background, level of education and other economic and social factors that may affect individual’s propensity to commit crimes such as cultural characteristics, age and sex.

Suggested Citation

  • Paolo Buonanno, 2003. "The Socioeconomic Determinants of Crime. A Review of the Literature," Working Papers 63, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2003.
  • Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:63
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    File URL: http://dems.unimib.it/repec/pdf/mibwpaper63.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. What can economics explain?
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2014-05-08 18:35:22

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    Cited by:

    1. Halicioglu, Ferda & Andrés, Antonio R. & Yamamura, Eiji, 2012. "Modeling crime in Japan," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 1640-1645.
    2. Claudio Detotto & Manuela Pulina, 2013. "Does more crime mean fewer jobs and less economic growth?," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 183-207, August.
    3. Catalina Gómez & Hermilson Velásquez & Andrés Julián Rendón & Santiago Bohórquez, 2014. "Crime in Colombia: More law enforcement or more justice?," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO CIEF 011998, UNIVERSIDAD EAFIT.
    4. Olaf J. de Groot & Anja Shortland, 2010. "Gov-arrrgh-nance: Jolly Rogers and Dodgy Rulers," Economics of Security Working Paper Series 39, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    5. Elvira Sapienza, 2013. "Usura ed estorsione nel mezzogiorno: una stima delle determinanti," STUDI ECONOMICI, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2013(109), pages 45-67.
    6. Daniele, Vittorio & Marani, Ugo, 2011. "Organized crime, the quality of local institutions and FDI in Italy: A panel data analysis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 132-142, March.
    7. Amedeo Argentiero & Bruno Chiarini & Elisabetta Marzano, 2018. "Does Tax Evasion Affect Economic Crime?," CESifo Working Paper Series 6957, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Ishita Chatterjee & Ranjan Ray, 2009. "Crime, Corruption and Institutions," Monash Economics Working Papers 20-09, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    9. Nikolaos Dritsakis & Alexandros Gkanas, 2009. "The effect of socio-economic determinants on crime rates: An empirical research in the case of Greece with cointegration analysis," International Journal of Business and Economic Sciences Applied Research (IJBESAR), Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Institute of Technology (EMATTECH), Kavala, Greece, vol. 2(2), pages 51-64, December.
    10. Vittorio, Daniele, 2009. "Organized crime and regional development. A review of the Italian case," MPRA Paper 16547, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Ishita Chatterjee & Ranjan Ray, 2013. "The Role of Institutions in the Incidence of Crime and Corruption," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 13-17, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Crime; Education; Inequality; Social Interactions; Unemployment; Youth;

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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