Poverty and crime in 19th century Germany: A reassessment
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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