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Demand for public safety


  • Pradhan, Menno
  • Ravallion, Martin


In public safety of less concern to poor people? What about people in poor areas? How is demand for public safety affected by income inequality? Is there a self-correcting mechanism whereby higher crime increases demand for public safety? The authors study subjective assessments of public safety using a comprehensive socioeconomic survey of living standards in Brazil. They find public safety to be a normal good at the household level. Marginal income effects are higher for the poor, so inequality reduces aggregate demand for public safety. Less public safety generates higher demand for improving it. Living in a poor area increases demand at given own-income. So does living in an area with higher average education.

Suggested Citation

  • Pradhan, Menno & Ravallion, Martin, 1999. "Demand for public safety," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2043, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2043

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & José A. Scheinkman, 1996. "Crime and Social Interactions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 507-548.
    2. Gibson, Betty Blecha, 1980. "Estimating Demand Elasticities for Public Goods from Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 1069-1076, December.
    3. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    7. Grosh, M.E. & Munoz, J., 1996. "A Manual for Planning and Implementing the Living Standards Measurement Study Survey," Papers 126, World Bank - Living Standards Measurement.
    8. Fajnzylber, Pablo & Lederman, Daniel & Loayza, Norman, 2002. "What causes violent crime?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(7), pages 1323-1357, July.
    9. Philipson, Tomas J & Posner, Richard A, 1996. "The Economic Epidemiology of Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(2), pages 405-433, October.
    10. Behrman, Jere R & Craig, Steven G, 1987. "The Distribution of Public Services: An Exploration of Local Governmental Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 37-49, March.
    11. John J. DiIulio, 1996. "Help Wanted: Economists, Crime and Public Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
    12. Bohm, Peter, 1984. "Revealing demand for an actual public good," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 135-151, July.
    13. Isaac Ehrlich, 1996. "Crime, Punishment, and the Market for Offenses," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 43-67, Winter.
    14. Peter Bohm, 1984. "Revealing demand for an actual public good," Framed Field Experiments 00129, The Field Experiments Website.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marcel Fafchamps & Christine Moser, 2003. "Crime, Isolation and Law Enforcement," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 12(4), pages 625-671, December.
    2. Bourguignon Francois, 2009. "Crime as a Social Cost of Poverty and Inequality: A Review Focusing on Developing countries," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE, September.
    3. Fafchamps, Marcel & Minten, Bart, 2003. "Theft And Rural Poverty: Results Of A Natural Experiment," 2003 Annual Meeting, August 16-22, 2003, Durban, South Africa 25902, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    4. Fafchamps, Marcel & Minten, Bart, 2006. "Crime, Transitory Poverty, and Isolation: Evidence from Madagascar," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(3), pages 579-603, April.


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