Does poverty relief spending reduce crime? Evidence from Argentina
A large body of empirical research suggests that welfare spending reduces crime. Contrary to this dominant finding, a few recent studies conclude that there is no relationship between several measures of welfare spending and serious crime. This paper contributes to the debate using data from the largest poverty alleviation program launched by the Argentinean government to cope with the deleterious effects of the 2002 crisis featuring double-digit unemployment and half of the population below the poverty line. Province –level dynamic panel data reveals that the cash transfers program had a negative impact total crime although the effect was rather weak. The analyses of various types of crime show that the influence of the Argentine poverty relief spending was greater in Property Crimes than Crime against Persons, with the highest effect on larceny.
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