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Effects of Welfare Reform on Women's Crime

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  • Hope Corman
  • Dhaval M. Dave
  • Nancy E. Reichman

Abstract

We investigate the effects of broad-based work incentives on female crime by exploiting the welfare reform legislation of the 1990s, which dramatically increased employment among women at risk for relying on cash assistance. We find that welfare reform decreased female property crime arrests by 4-5%, but did not affect other types of crimes. The effects appear to be stronger in states with lower welfare benefits and higher earnings disregards, and in states with larger caseload declines. The findings point to broad-based work incentives--and, by inference, employment--as a key determinant of female property crime.

Suggested Citation

  • Hope Corman & Dhaval M. Dave & Nancy E. Reichman, 2013. "Effects of Welfare Reform on Women's Crime," NBER Working Papers 18887, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18887
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hope Corman & Dhaval Dave & Nancy E. Reichman, 2017. "Effects Of Welfare Reform On Women'S Voting Participation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(3), pages 1430-1451, July.
    2. Nadia Campaniello, 2014. "Women in crime," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 105-105, November.
    3. Hope Corman & Dhaval M. Dave & Nancy E. Reichman, 2018. "Age Gradient in Female Crime: Welfare Reform as a Turning Point," NBER Working Papers 24464, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Campaniello, N & Gavrilova, E, 2017. "Uncovering the Gender Participation Gap in Crime," Economics Discussion Papers 18833, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
    5. O’Flaherty, Brendan & Sethi, Rajiv, 2015. "Urban Crime," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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