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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.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2043.

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Date of creation: 31 Jan 1999
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2043
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  1. Edward E. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1738, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. 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.
  3. Sah, Raaj K, 1991. "Social Osmosis and Patterns of Crime," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1272-95, December.
  4. Gary S. Becker, 1968. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 169.
  5. Fajnzylber, Pablo & Lederman, Daniel & Loayza, Norman, 2002. "What causes violent crime?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(7), pages 1323-1357, July.
  6. Akerlof, George A & Dickens, William T, 1982. "The Economic Consequences of Cognitive Dissonance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 307-19, June.
  7. Bohm, Peter, 1984. "Revealing demand for an actual public good," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 135-151, July.
  8. 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.
  9. Isaac Ehrlich, 1996. "Crime, Punishment, and the Market for Offenses," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 43-67, Winter.
  10. Gibson, Betty Blecha, 1980. "Estimating Demand Elasticities for Public Goods from Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 1069-76, December.
  11. 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.
  12. 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 405-33, October.
  13. Peter Bohm, 1984. "Revealing demand for an actual public good," Framed Field Experiments 00129, The Field Experiments Website.
  14. Borcherding, Thomas E & Deacon, Robert T, 1972. "The Demand for the Services of Non-Federal Governments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 891-901, December.
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