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Weather and crime in South Africa

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  • Bruederle, Anna
  • Peters, Jörg
  • Roberts, Gareth

Abstract

South Africa has one of the highest crime rates in the world, incurring high cost for society. The present paper examines the effect of weather shocks on various types of crime. Using a 12-year panel data set at monthly resolution on the police ward level, we demonstrate a short-term effect of warmer temperatures on violent crime and thereby offer support for the heat-aggression link as suggested by psychological research. Furthermore, we find evidence for a mid-term effect of weather on crime via agricultural income, which is in line with the economic theory of crime. Our findings have direct policy implications for the design of crime prevention strategies, in which weather forecasts could play an important role.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruederle, Anna & Peters, Jörg & Roberts, Gareth, 2017. "Weather and crime in South Africa," Ruhr Economic Papers 739, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:rwirep:739
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ranson, Matthew, 2014. "Crime, weather, and climate change," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 274-302.
    2. Haroon Bhorat & Adaiah Lilenstein & Jabulile Monnakgotla & Amy Thornton, 2017. "The Socio-Economic Determinants of Crime in South Africa: An Empirical Assessment," Working Papers 201704, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    3. Conley, Timothy G. & Molinari, Francesca, 2007. "Spatial correlation robust inference with errors in location or distance," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 140(1), pages 76-96, September.
    4. Mariaflavia Harari & Eliana La Ferrara, 2012. "Conflict, Climate and Cells: A disaggregated analysis," Working Papers 461, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    5. Hodler, Roland & Raschky, Paul A., 2014. "Economic shocks and civil conflict at the regional level," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 124(3), pages 530-533.
    6. Evan Herrnstadt & Erich Muehlegger, 2015. "Air Pollution and Criminal Activity: Evidence from Chicago Microdata," NBER Working Papers 21787, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Erik Alda & Jose Cuesta, 2011. "A comprehensive estimation of costs of crime in South Africa and its implications for effective policy making," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(7), pages 926-935, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Heilmann, Kilian & Kahn, Matthew E. & Tang, Cheng Keat, 2021. "The urban crime and heat gradient in high and low poverty areas," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 197(C).
    2. Hailemariam, Abebe & Sakutukwa, Tutsirai & Yew, Siew Ling, 2021. "The impact of energy poverty on physical violence," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    South Africa; weather; crime; income shocks;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

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