Thieves, Thugs, and Neighborhood Poverty

44 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2009

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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This paper develops a model of crime analyzing how such behavior is associated with individual and neighborhood poverty. The model shows that even under relatively minimal assumptions, a connection between individual poverty and both property and violent crimes will arise, and moreover, "neighborhood" effects can develop, but will differ substantially in nature across crime types. A key implication is that greater economic segregation in a city should have no effect or a negative effect on property crime, but a positive effect on violent crime. Using IV methods, I show this implication to be consistent with the empirical evidence.

Keywords: poverty, crime, neighborhood effects, segregation, instrumental variables, public housing

JEL Classification: K42, I38

Suggested Citation

Bjerk, David, Thieves, Thugs, and Neighborhood Poverty. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4470, Available at SSRN:

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

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