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The Effect of Workfare Policy on Crime

Author

Listed:
  • Peter Fallesen

    () (Rockwool Foundation and University of Copenhagen)

  • Lars Pico Geerdsen

    () (The Danish National Centre for Social Research)

  • Susumu Imai

    () (Queen's University)

  • Torben Tranaes

    () (Rockwool Foundation)

Abstract

In this paper, we focus on a novel and potentially important aspect of the workfare policy in the Danish labor market, namely its effect on crime. We do this by exploiting two policy changes. First, we examine the effect of a series of national welfare reforms introduced during the 1990s. Those reforms strengthened the work requirement for the young welfare recipients and were introduced gradually, starting with younger welfare participants first. We exploit the differential introduction of workfare reform across different age groups as the exogenous variation. Second, we use a unique policy experiment that began in 1987 by an innovative mayor of the Danish city of Farum, where he imposed a 100 % work or training requirement for all welfare recipients immediately from the date of enrollment. By comparing the changes in crime rates among the welfare recipients in Farum before and after 1987 with that of the rest of Denmark, we identify the effect of workfare on the crime rate. Our results show a dramatic decline in the arrest rate among welfare recipients after the introduction of the stronger workfare requirements, both at the national level and in Farum. Those results imply a strong and significant crime reducing effect of the workfare policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Fallesen & Lars Pico Geerdsen & Susumu Imai & Torben Tranaes, 2010. "The Effect of Workfare Policy on Crime," Working Papers 1236, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:qed:wpaper:1236
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    File URL: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca/working_papers/papers/qed_wp_1236.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Raphael, Steven & Winter-Ember, Rudolf, 2001. "Identifying the Effect of Unemployment on Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(1), pages 259-283, April.
    2. Rosholm, Michael & Svarer, Michael, 2004. "Estimating the Threat Effect of Active Labour Market Programmes," IZA Discussion Papers 1300, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Nilsson, Anna & Agell, Jonas, 2003. "Crime, unemployment and labor market programs in turbulent times," Working Paper Series 2003:14, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    4. Susumu Imai & Kala Krishna, 2004. "Employment, Deterrence, And Crime In A Dynamic Model," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(3), pages 845-872, August.
    5. Donohue, John J, III & Siegelman, Peter, 1998. "Allocating Resources among Prisons and Social Programs in the Battle against Crime," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 1-43, January.
    6. Richard B. Freeman, 1996. "Why Do So Many Young American Men Commit Crimes and What Might We Do about It?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 25-42, Winter.
    7. Bolvig, Iben & Jensen, Peter & Rosholm, Michael, 2003. "The Employment Effects of Active Social Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 736, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Karsten Albæk & Søren Leth-Petersen & Daniel Maire & Torben Tranæs, 2017. "Does Peacetime Military Service Affect Crime?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 119(3), pages 512-540, July.
    2. Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay & Samrat Bhattacharya & Rudra Sensarma, 2015. "An analysis of the factors determining crime in England and Wales: A quantile regression approach," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(1), pages 665-679.
    3. Gerard van den Berg & Michele Tertilt, 2012. "Domestic Violence over the Business Cycle," 2012 Meeting Papers 1171, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Torben Tranaes, 2015. "Active labor market policies and crime," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 185-185, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Workfare; Crime; Welfare;

    JEL classification:

    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs

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