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Poverty and crime in 19th century Germany: A reassessment

  • Christian Traxler


    (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn)

  • Carsten Burhop

    (Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn and University of Cologne)

Using panel data for Prussia during 1882 to 1910, we replicate Mehlum, Miguel, and Torvik’s (2006) study on the causal effect of poverty on crime in 19th century Germany. In addition, our data set allows us to make several original contributions to the literature. We confirm the robust positive effect of poverty on property crime. Employing the rye price as a proxy for poverty, we show that the effect is less pronounced for provinces with a large agricultural sector. As Mehlum et al., we also find a strong negative impact of poverty on violent crime. However, once we account for beer consumption, this effect vanishes.

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Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in its series Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods with number 2010_35.

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Date of creation: Aug 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mpg:wpaper:2010_35
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  1. Broadberry, Stephen & Burhop, Carsten, 2010. "Real Wages and Labor Productivity in Britain and Germany, 1871–1938: A Unified Approach to the International Comparison of Living Standards," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 70(02), pages 400-427, June.
  2. Raphael, Steven & WINTER-EBMER, RUDOLF, 1998. "Identifying the Effect of Unemployment on Crime," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt5hb4h56g, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  3. Mehlum, Halvor & Miguel, Edward & Torvik, Ragnar, 2006. "Poverty and crime in 19th century Germany," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 370-388, May.
  4. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Stephen G. Donald & Kevin Lang, 2007. "Inference with Difference-in-Differences and Other Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 221-233, May.
  6. Markowitz, Sara, 2005. "Alcohol, Drugs and Violent Crime," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 20-44, March.
  7. Keith Finlay & Leandro M. Magnusson, 2014. "Bootstrap Methods for Inference with Cluster-Sample IV Models," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 14-12, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
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