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Does Violent Crime Deter Physical Activity?

  • Janke, K.;
  • Propper, C.;
  • Shields, M.A.;

Crime has potentially important externalities. We investigate the relationship between recorded violent crime at the local area level and individuals’ participation in their local area through walking and physical activity. We use a sample of nearly 1 million people residing in over 320 local areas across England over the period 2005 to 2011. We show that concerns about personal safety co-move with police recorded violent crime. Our analysis controls for individual-level characteristics, non-time varying local authority effects, national time effects and local authority-specific trends in order to identify the causal effect of police recorded violent crime on walking and other physical activity. In addition, we exploit a natural experiment that caused a sudden increase in crime – the 2011 England riots – to identify the causal impact of a large exogenous crime shock on physical activity in a triple difference framework. Our results show a substantive deterrent effect of local area violent crime on walking, pointing to important effects of violent crime on non-victims. The adverse effect of an increase in local area violent crime from the 25th to the 75th percentile on walking is equivalent in size to a 6 C fall in average minimum temperature.

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Paper provided by HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York in its series Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers with number 13/26.

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Date of creation: Jul 2013
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Handle: RePEc:yor:hectdg:13/26
Contact details of provider: Postal: HEDG/HERC, Department of Economics and Related Studies, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom
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  1. Francesca Cornaglia & Andrew Leigh, 2012. "Crime and mental wellbeing," CentrePiece - The Magazine for Economic Performance 357, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1998. "Crime and the Timing of Work," NBER Working Papers 6613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  4. Steve Gibbons, 2004. "The Costs of Urban Property Crime," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(499), pages F441-F463, November.
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  8. Jeffrey Kling & Jeffrey B. Liebman & Lawrence F. Katz, 2001. "Bullets Don't Got No Name: Consequences of Fear in the Ghetto," JCPR Working Papers 225, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  9. Braakmann, Nils, 2012. "How do individuals deal with victimization and victimization risk? Longitudinal evidence from Mexico," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 335-344.
  10. Brian Jacob & Lars Lefgren & Enrico Moretti, 2007. "The Dynamics of Criminal Behavior: Evidence from Weather Shocks," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(3).
  11. Robert Metcalfe & Nattavudh Powdthavee & Paul Dolan, 2011. "Destruction and Distress: Using a Quasi‐Experiment to Show the Effects of the September 11 Attacks on Mental Well‐Being in the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(550), pages F81-F103, February.
  12. Rosenthal, Stuart S. & Ross, Amanda, 2010. "Violent crime, entrepreneurship, and cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 135-149, January.
  13. Ian Ayres & Steven D. Levitt, 1998. "Measuring Positive Externalities From Unobservable Victim Precaution: An Empirical Analysis Of Lojack," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(1), pages 43-77, February.
  14. Sundquist, Kristina & Theobald, Holger & Yang, Min & Li, Xinjun & Johansson, Sven-Erik & Sundquist, Jan, 2006. "Neighborhood violent crime and unemployment increase the risk of coronary heart disease: A multilevel study in an urban setting," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(8), pages 2061-2071, April.
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