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Crime and the Timing of Work

  • Daniel S. Hamermesh

Two striking facts describe work timing in the United States: a lower propensity to work evenings and nights in large metropolitan areas, and a secular decline in such work since 1973. One explanation is higher and possibly increasing crime in large areas. I link Current Population Survey data on work timing to FBI crime reports. Neither fact is explained by changes in nor inter-area differences in crime rates, but higher homicide rates do reduce such work. This reduction implicitly costs the economy between $4 and $10 billion. This negative externality illustrates a larger class of previously unmeasured costs of social pathologies.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6613.

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Date of creation: Jun 1998
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Journal of Urban Economics, Vol. 45, no. 2 (March 1999): 311-330
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6613
Note: LS
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  1. Kostiuk, Peter F, 1990. "Compensating Differentials for Shift Work," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 1054-75, October.
  2. Edward E. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1738, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Ian Ayres & Steven D. Levitt, 1997. "Measuring Positive Externalities from Unobservable Victim Precaution: An Empirical Analysis of Lojack," NBER Working Papers 5928, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1999. "The Timing of Work over Time," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(452), pages 37-66, January.
  5. Henderson, J. Vernon, 1981. "The economics of staggered work hours," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 349-364, May.
  6. Edward J. Schumacher & Barry T. Hirsch, . "Compensating Differentials and Unmeasured Ability in the Labor Market For Nurses: Why Do Hospitals Pay More?," Working Papers 9604, East Carolina University, Department of Economics.
  7. Viscusi, W Kip, 1993. "The Value of Risks to Life and Health," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 1912-46, December.
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