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Crime and local inequality in South Africa

  • Demombynes, Gabriel
  • Ozler, Berk

The authors examine the effects of local inequality on property and violent crime in South Africa. Their findings are consistent with economic theories relating inequality to property crime, and also with sociological theories that imply that inequality leads to crime in general. Burglary rates are 20-30 percent higher in police station jurisdictions that are the wealthiest among their neighbors, suggesting that criminals travel to neighborhoods where the expected returns from burglary are highest. The authors do not find evidence that inequality between racial groups fosters interpersonal conflict at the local level.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2925.

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Date of creation: 30 Nov 2002
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2925
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  1. Klaus Deininger & Lyn Squire, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," CEMA Working Papers 512, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 1999. "Why Is There More Crime in Cities?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S225-S258, December.
  3. Hongyi Li & Lyn Squire & Tao Zhang & Heng-fu Zou, 1999. "A Data Set on Income Distribution," CEMA Working Papers 575, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  4. Ravi Kanbur, 2006. "The policy significance of inequality decompositions," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 367-374, December.
  5. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1973. "Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 521-65, May-June.
  6. Eric D. Gould & Bruce A. Weinberg & David B. Mustard, 2002. "Crime Rates And Local Labor Market Opportunities In The United States: 1979-1997," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 45-61, February.
  7. Demombynes, Gabriel & Elbers, Chris & Lanjouw, Jenny & Lanjouw, Peter & Mistiaen, Johan & Ozler, Berk, 2002. "Producing an Improved Geographic Profile of Poverty: Methodology and Evidence from Three Developing Countries," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  8. repec:ucn:oapubs:10197/523 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
  10. Fajnzylber, Pablo & Lederman, Daniel & Loayza, Norman, 2002. "What causes violent crime?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(7), pages 1323-1357, July.
  11. Morgan Kelly, 2000. "Inequality And Crime," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 530-539, November.
  12. Steve Machin & Costas Meghir, 2000. "Crime and economic incentives," IFS Working Papers W00/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Kennedy, Bruce P. & Kawachi, Ichiro & Prothrow-Stith, Deborah & Lochner, Kimberly & Gupta, Vanita, 1998. "Social capital, income inequality, and firearm violent crime," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 7-17, July.
  16. 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.
  17. Bruce Weinberg & Eric Gould & David Mustard, 1998. "Crime Rates and Local Labor Market Opportunities in the United States: 1979-1995," Working Papers 98-11, Ohio State University, Department of Economics.
  18. Lederman, Daniel & Loayza, Norman & Menendez, Ana Maria, 2002. "Violent Crime: Does Social Capital Matter?," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(3), pages 509-39, April.
  19. F. Bourguignon, 1999. "Crime as a Social Cost of Poverty and Inequality: A Review Focusing on Developing Countries," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  20. Chris Elbers & Jean O. Lanjouw & Peter Lanjouw, 2003. "Micro--Level Estimation of Poverty and Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 355-364, January.
  21. Chiu, W. Henry & Madden, Paul, 1998. "Burglary and income inequality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 123-141, July.
  22. Anthony B. Atkinson & Andrea Brandolini, 2000. "Promise and Pitfalls in the Use of 'Secondary' Data-Sets: Income Inequality in OECD Countries," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 379, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  23. Pradhan, Menno & Ravallion, Martin, 2003. "Who wants safer streets? Explaining concern for public safety in Brazil," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 17-33, February.
  24. Fajnzylber, Pablo & Lederman, Daniel & Loayza, Norman, 2002. "Inequality and Violent Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(1), pages 1-40, April.
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