Thieves, Thugs, and Neighborhood Poverty

50 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2008

See all articles by David Bjerk

David Bjerk

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Date Written: July 3, 2008

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Poverty, Crime, Instrumental Variables, Neighborhood Effects, Segregation

JEL Classification: R50, K42, Z13

Suggested Citation

Bjerk, David, Thieves, Thugs, and Neighborhood Poverty (July 3, 2008). Robert Day School of Economics and Finance Research Paper No. 2008-17. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1288896 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1288896

David Bjerk (Contact Author)

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance ( email )

500 E. Ninth St.
Claremont, CA 91711-6420
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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