IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Is there a Natural Rate of Crime?

  • Paresh Kumar Narayan
  • Ingrid Nielsen
  • Russell Smyth

Studies in the economics of crime literature have reached mixed conclusions on the deterrence hypothesis. One explanation which has been offered for the failure to find evidence of a deterrent effect in the long run is the natural rate of crime. This paper applies the univariate Lagrange Multiplier (LM) unit root test with one and two structural breaks to crime series for the United Kingdom and United States and the panel LM unit root test with and without a structural break to crime rates for a panel of G7 countries to examine whether there is a natural rate of crime. Our main finding is that when we allow for two structural breaks in the LM unit root test and a structural break in the panel data unit root test, there is strong evidence of a natural rate of crime. The policy implications of our findings is that governments should focus on altering the economic and social structural profile which determines crime in the long run rather than increasing expenditure on law enforcement which will at best reduce crime rates in the short run.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Monash University, Department of Economics in its series Monash Economics Working Papers with number 18/05.

in new window

Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 02 Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:2005-18
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Department of Economics, Monash University, Victoria 3800, Australia

Phone: +61-3-9905-2493
Fax: +61-3-9905-5476
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Olivier J. Blanchard & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Hysteresis and the European Unemployment Problem," Working papers 427, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Junsoo Lee & Mark C. Strazicich, 2003. "Minimum Lagrange Multiplier Unit Root Test with Two Structural Breaks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 1082-1089, November.
  3. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  4. Kyung-So Im & Junsoo Lee & Margie Tieslau, 2005. "Panel LM Unit-root Tests with Level Shifts," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 67(3), pages 393-419, 06.
  5. James G. MacKinnon, 1990. "Critical Values for Cointegration Tests," Working Papers 1227, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  6. Mireia Jofre-Bonet & Jody L. Sindelar, 2002. "Drug Treatment as a Crime Fighting Tool," NBER Working Papers 9038, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1973. "Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 521-65, May-June.
  8. Buck, Andrew J. & Gross, Meir & Hakim, Simon & Weinblatt, J., 1983. "The deterrence hypothesis revisited," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 471-486, November.
  9. Richard B. Freeman, 1996. "Why Do So Many Young American Men Commit Crimes and What Might We Do About It?," NBER Working Papers 5451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Jeff Grogger & Michael Willis, 2000. "The Emergence Of Crack Cocaine And The Rise In Urban Crime Rates," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 519-529, November.
  11. Jushan Bai & Pierre Perron, 1998. "Estimating and Testing Linear Models with Multiple Structural Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(1), pages 47-78, January.
  12. Lippman, Steven A & McCall, John J, 1976. "The Economics of Job Search: A Survey," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(3), pages 347-68, September.
  13. Brunello, Giorgio, 1990. "Hysteresis and "The Japanese Unemployment Problem": A Preliminary Investigation," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(3), pages 483-500, July.
  14. Levitt, Steven D, 1997. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 270-90, June.
  15. Graham Elliott & Thomas J. Rothenberg & James H. Stock, 1992. "Efficient Tests for an Autoregressive Unit Root," NBER Technical Working Papers 0130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Imrohoroglu, A. & Merlo, A. & Rupert, P., 2000. "What Accounts for the Decline in Crime?," Working Papers 00-11, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  17. Leon-Ledesma, Miguel A, 2002. "Unemployment Hysteresis in the US States and the EU: A Panel Approach," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2), pages 95-103, April.
  18. Samuel L. Myers, 1983. "Estimating the Economic Model of Crime: Employment Versus Punishment Effects," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(1), pages 157-166.
  19. Junsoo Lee & Mark C. Strazicich, 2013. "Minimum LM unit root test with one structural break," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(4), pages 2483-2492.
  20. Withers, Glenn, 1984. "Crime, Punishment and Deterrence in Australia: An Empirical Investigation," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 60(169), pages 176-85, June.
  21. Song, Frank M & Wu, Yangru, 1997. "Hysteresis in Unemployment: Evidence from 48 U.S. States," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(2), pages 235-43, April.
  22. Cornwell, Christopher & Trumbull, William N, 1994. "Estimating the Economic Model of Crime with Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(2), pages 360-66, May.
  23. Schmidt, Peter & Phillips, C B Peter, 1992. "LM Tests for a Unit Root in the Presence of Deterministic Trends," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 54(3), pages 257-87, August.
  24. Andrew Resignato, 2000. "Violent crime: a function of drug use or drug enforcement?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(6), pages 681-688.
  25. Caporale, Tony & Grier, Kevin B, 2000. "Political Regime Change and the Real Interest Rate," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(3), pages 320-34, August.
  26. Song, Frank M. & Wu, Yangru, 1998. "Hysteresis in unemployment: Evidence from OECD countries," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 181-192.
  27. Lee, Junsoo & Strazicich, Mark C, 2001. " Break Point Estimation and Spurious Rejections with Endogenous Unit Root Tests," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(5), pages 535-58, December.
  28. Hall, Alastair R, 1994. "Testing for a Unit Root in Time Series with Pretest Data-Based Model Selection," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 12(4), pages 461-70, October.
  29. Russell Smyth, 2003. "Unemployment Hysteresis in Australian States and Territories: Evidence from Panel Data Unit Root Tests," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 36(2), pages 181-192.
  30. Philipson, Tomas J & Posner, Richard A, 1996. "The Economic Epidemiology of Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(2), pages 405-33, October.
  31. H. Naci Mocan & Hope Corman, 2000. "A Time-Series Analysis of Crime, Deterrence, and Drug Abuse in New York City," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 584-604, June.
  32. Robin L. Lumsdaine & David H. Papell, 1997. "Multiple Trend Breaks And The Unit-Root Hypothesis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(2), pages 212-218, May.
  33. David H. Papell & Christian J. Murray & Hala Ghiblawi, 2000. "The Structure of Unemployment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(2), pages 309-315, May.
  34. DeJong, David N, et al, 1992. "Integration versus Trend Stationarity in Time Series," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 423-33, March.
  35. Rafael Di Tella & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2004. "Do Police Reduce Crime? Estimates Using the Allocation of Police Forces After a Terrorist Attack," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 115-133, March.
  36. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 2005. "Economic Analysis of Law," Discussion Papers 05-005, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  37. Roed, Knut, 1996. "Unemployment Hysteresis--Macro Evidence from 16 OECD Countries," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 21(4), pages 589-600.
  38. 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.
  39. Cameron, Samuel, 1988. "The Economics of Crime Deterrence: A Survey of Theory and Evidence," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 301-23.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:2005-18. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Simon Angus)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.