Thieves, Thugs, and Neighborhood Poverty
Claremont Colleges - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
July 3, 2008
Robert Day School of Economics and Finance Research Paper No. 2008-17
This paper develops a model of criminal behavior that analyzes how such behavior may be associated with both individual and neighborhood poverty. Importantly, this model distinguishes between basic property crimes such as burglary and larceny, and interpersonal violent crimes such as robbery and assault. The model shows that even under relatively minimal assumptions, a connection between individual poverty and both types of crime will arise, and moreover, "neighborhood" effects can develop, but will differ substantially in nature across crime types. A key implication of the model is that greater economic segregation in a city should have no effect or even a negative effect on basic property crime, but a positive effect on violent crime. Using Instrumental Variable methods, I show this implication to be consistent with the empirical evidence.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 50
Keywords: Poverty, Crime, Instrumental Variables, Neighborhood Effects, Segregation
JEL Classification: R50, K42, Z13working papers series
Date posted: October 28, 2008
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