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Welfare Payments and Crime

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  • C. Fritz Foley

Abstract

This paper tests the hypothesis that the timing of welfare payments affects criminal activity. Analysis of daily reported incidents of major crimes in twelve U.S. cities reveals an increase in crime over the course of monthly welfare payment cycles. This increase reflects an increase in crimes that are likely to have a direct financial motivation like burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and robbery, as opposed to other kinds of crime like arson, assault, homicide, and rape. Temporal patterns in crime are observed in jurisdictions in which disbursements are focused at the beginning of monthly welfare payment cycles and not in jurisdictions in which disbursements are relatively more staggered.

Suggested Citation

  • C. Fritz Foley, 2008. "Welfare Payments and Crime," NBER Working Papers 14074, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14074
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Chioda, Laura & De Mello, João M.P. & Soares, Rodrigo R., 2016. "Spillovers from conditional cash transfer programs: Bolsa Família and crime in urban Brazil," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 306-320.
    2. Helen Tauchen, 2010. "Estimating the Supply of Crime: Recent Advances," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Crime, chapter 2 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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