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Welfare Payments and Crime

  • C. Fritz Foley
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    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.

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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14074.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2008
    Date of revision:
    Publication status: published as Fritz Foley. "Welfare Payments and Crime." Review of Economics and Statistics, 93, no. 1 (February 2011): 97-112.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14074
    Note: LE PE
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