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The Effect of Local Area Crime on Mental Health

Author

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  • Christian Dustmann

    (University College London and CReAM)

  • Francesco Fasani

    (Queen Mary University of London and CReAM)

Abstract

This paper analyses the effect of local crime rates on the mental well-being of residents. Our identification strategy addresses the problem of sorting, and endogenous moving behaviour. We find that crime causes considerable mental distress of residents, and that these effects are mainly driven by property crime. However, individuals react also to violent crime, in particular in areas individuals may be exposed to when following their daily routines, such as travel to work. Local crime creates more distress for females, and is mainly related to depression and anxiety. The impact on mental well-being is large: We find that the increase in mental distress following a one standard deviation increase in local crime is about 2-4 times as large as that caused by a one standard deviation decrease in local employment, and about one seventh of the effect experienced in the direct aftermath of the London Bombings of July 7th, 2005.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Dustmann & Francesco Fasani, 2013. "The Effect of Local Area Crime on Mental Health," Working Papers 712, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:qmw:qmwecw:712
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    File URL: https://www.qmul.ac.uk/sef/media/econ/research/workingpapers/2013/items/wp712.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-659, May.
    2. Timothy Besley & Hannes Mueller, 2012. "Estimating the Peace Dividend: The Impact of Violence on House Prices in Northern Ireland," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 810-833, April.
    3. Francesca Cornaglia & Naomi E. Feldman & Andrew Leigh, 2014. "Crime and Mental Well-Being," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(1), pages 110-140.
    4. Giles Atkinson & Andrew Healey & Susana Mourato, 2005. "Valuing the costs of violent crime: a stated preference approach," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(4), pages 559-585, October.
    5. Richard T. Carson, 2012. "Contingent Valuation: A Practical Alternative When Prices Aren't Available," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(4), pages 27-42, Fall.
    6. Lawrence F. Katz & Jeffrey R. Kling & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2001. "Moving to Opportunity in Boston: Early Results of a Randomized Mobility Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 607-654.
    7. Gary S. Becker & Yona Rubinstein, 2011. "Fear and the Response to Terrorism: An Economic Analysis," CEP Discussion Papers dp1079, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    8. Janke, K. & Propper, C. & Shields, M.A., 2013. "Does Violent Crime Deter Physical Activity?," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 13/26, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Neighbourhood effects; Mental wellbeing; Fear of crime;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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