Urban Crime and Labor Mobility

25 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2007

See all articles by Subhayu Bandyopadhyay

Subhayu Bandyopadhyay

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis - Research Division; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; West Virginia University

Christopher H. Wheeler

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis - Research Division

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 2007


We present a model of crime where two municipalities exist within a metro area (MSA). Consistent with the literature, local law enforcement has a crime reduction effect and a crime diversion effect. The former confers a spillover benefit to the other municipality, while the latter a spillover cost. If the net spillovers are positive (negative), then the respective Nash enforcement levels are too low (high) from the perspective of the MSA. When we allow for Tiebout type mobility, labor will move to the location offering lower disutility crime (including the tax burden). To attract labor both jurisdictions would like to raise the relative crime that exists in the competing region. Interestingly, this could raise or reduce enforcement compared to the immobility case. If it was too high (low) under immobility, it will be raised (reduced) further under mobility. In the symmetric case, neither can gain any labor, but the competition for it pushes the jurisdictions further away from the efficient (cooperative) outcome. Thus, mobility must be welfare reducing. We also consider asymmetry in the context of differences in efficiency of enforcement. The low cost municipality has the lower crime damage (inclusive of the tax burden) and attracts labor. Mobility is necessarily welfare reducing for the high cost municipality and for the MSA, but it has an ambiguous effect on the low cost municipality.

Keywords: Crime, Externalities, Enforcement, Labor Mobility

JEL Classification: H73, K42, R23

Suggested Citation

Bandyopadhyay, Subhayu and Wheeler, Christopher H., Urban Crime and Labor Mobility (October 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1024034 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1024034

Subhayu Bandyopadhyay (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis - Research Division ( email )

411 Locust St
PO Box 442
St. Louis, MO 63011
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

West Virginia University ( email )

Morgantown, WV 26506-6025
United States
304-293-7879 (Phone)
304-293-7061 (Fax)

Christopher H. Wheeler

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis - Research Division

411 Locust St
Saint Louis, MO 63011
United States

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