Increasing Returns and the Evolution of Violent Crime: The Case of Colombia

UCSD Department of Economics Disc. Paper No. 98-14

39 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 1998

See all articles by Alejandro Gaviria

Alejandro Gaviria

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 1998

Abstract

This paper puts forth an explanation of the recent escalation of violent crime in Colombia. The paper considers three implicit models that isolate different types of externalities among criminals. In the first model criminals make crime more appealing to nearby residents by congesting the law enforcement system and hence lowering the probability of punishment. In the second model the interaction of career criminals and local crooks speeds up the diffusion of criminal know-how and criminal technology. In the third model the daily contact of youth with criminal adults and criminal peers results in the erosion of morals and hence in a greater predisposition toward crime. The paper shows that a myriad empirical evidence--both statistical and anecdotal--lends support to the previous models in general and to the congestion-in-law-enforcement model in particular.

JEL Classification: K42, N46

Suggested Citation

Gaviria, Alejandro, Increasing Returns and the Evolution of Violent Crime: The Case of Colombia (May 1998). UCSD Department of Economics Disc. Paper No. 98-14, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=106608 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.106608

Alejandro Gaviria (Contact Author)

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics ( email )

Carrera 1a No. 18A-10
Santafe de Bogota, AA4976
Colombia

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