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Racial beliefs, location and the causes of crime

  • Verdier, T.
  • Zenou, Y.

The aim of this paper is to show that both location and stereotype racial beliefs matter for explaining the high criminality rate among blacks in cities. In our model, blacks and whites are identical in all respects. However, if, for no economic but for extrinsic reasons, every-body (including blacks) believes that blacks are more criminals than whites, then we show that blacks (for rational reasons) become more criminals than whites, earn lower wages and reside in ghettos located far away from legal activities. There is a vicious circle in which blacks cannot escape because both location and labor market outcomes re-inforce each other to imply high crime rates among blacks living in cities. In this context, we show that a transportation policy that sub-sidizes the ‘access’ to legal activities for blacks can lead to a sharp decrease in their crime rate.

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Paper provided by Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton in its series Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics with number 0101.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:stn:sotoec:0101
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  1. Rasmusen, E., 1992. "Stigma and Self-Fulfilling Expectations of Criminality," Papers 92-019, Indiana - Center for Econometric Model Research.
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  8. Ihlanfeldt, Keith, 2002. "Spatial mismatch in the labor market and racial differences in neighborhood crime," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 73-76, June.
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  14. Coate, Stephen & Loury, Glenn C, 1993. "Will Affirmative-Action Policies Eliminate Negative Stereotypes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1220-40, December.
  15. Verdier, Thierry & Zenou, Yves, 2000. "Racial Beliefs, Location And The Causes Of Crime," CEPR Discussion Papers 2455, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Freeman, Scott & Grogger, Jeffrey & Sonstelie, Jon, 1996. "The Spatial Concentration of Crime," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 216-231, September.
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  18. Yves Zenou, 2003. "The Spatial Aspects of Crime," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 459-467, 04/05.
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  20. Scott South & Kyle Crowder, 1997. "Residential mobility between cities and suburbs: race, suburbanization, and back-to-the-city moves," Demography, Springer, vol. 34(4), pages 525-538, November.
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  28. Jeff Grogger & Michael Willis, 2000. "The Emergence Of Crack Cocaine And The Rise In Urban Crime Rates," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 519-529, November.
  29. Piketty, Thomas, 1998. "Self-fulfilling beliefs about social status," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 115-132, October.
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  32. Freeman, Richard B., 1999. "The economics of crime," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 52, pages 3529-3571 Elsevier.
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