Crime Rates and Local Labor Market Opportunities In the United States: 1979-1997

University of Georgia Working Paper No. 98-472

59 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 1998

See all articles by Eric D. Gould

Eric D. Gould

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Bruce A. Weinberg

Ohio State University (OSU) - Economics; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

David B. Mustard

University of Georgia - C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry College of Business - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; University of Georgia Law School

Date Written: October 2000

Abstract

The relationship between crime and labor market conditions is typically studied by looking at the unemployment rate. In contrast, this paper argues that wages are a better measure of labor market conditions than the unemployment rate. As the wages of those most likely to commit crime (unskilled men) have been falling in the past few decades, we examine the impact of this trend on the crime rate giving special attention to issues of endogeneity. Wages are found to be a significant determinant of crime and more important than the unemployment rate. As theory would predict, economic factors are more important for property crime than violent crime. These results are robust to various measures of wages, two regression strategies, the inclusion of deterrence variables, and controls for simultaneity.

JEL Classification: J2, K42

Suggested Citation

Gould, Eric D. and Weinberg, Bruce A. and Mustard, David B., Crime Rates and Local Labor Market Opportunities In the United States: 1979-1997 (October 2000). University of Georgia Working Paper No. 98-472. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=121969 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.121969

Eric D. Gould

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel
+972 2 588 3247 (Phone)
+972 2 581 6071 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: https://sites.google.com/site/edgould

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Bruce A. Weinberg

Ohio State University (OSU) - Economics ( email )

410 Arps Hall
1945 N. High St.
Columbus, OH 43210-1172
United States
614-292-6701 (Phone)
614-292-3906 (Fax)

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

David B. Mustard (Contact Author)

University of Georgia - C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry College of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

Athens, GA 30602-6254
United States
706-542-3624 (Phone)
706-542-3376 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.terry.uga.edu/~dmustard/

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

University of Georgia Law School

225 Herty Drive
Athens, GA 30602
United States

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