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The Effect of Workfare Policy on Crime

  • 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)

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.

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File URL: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca/working_papers/papers/qed_wp_1236.pdf
File Function: First version 2010
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Paper provided by Queen's University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1236.

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Length: 59 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:qed:wpaper:1236
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  1. Richard B. Freeman, 1996. "Why Do So Many Young American Men Commit Crimes and What Might We Do About It?," NBER Working Papers 5451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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 259-83, April.
  3. 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).
  4. Nilsson, Anna & Agell, Jonas, 2003. "Crime, Unemployment and Labor Market Programs in Turbulent Times," Research Papers in Economics 2003:13, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  5. Michael Rosholm & Michael Svarer, 2004. "Estimating the Threat Effect of Active Labour Market Programmes," CAM Working Papers 2004-14, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  6. 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.
  7. 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, 08.
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