On the Choice of Control Variables in the Crime Equation

20 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2010

See all articles by Carlisle E. Moody

Carlisle E. Moody

College of William and Mary - Department of Economics; Crime Prevention Research Center

Thomas B. Marvell

Justec Research


Although control variables are the reason for multiple regression, surprising little attention is given to the process of locating and selecting the controls. If important controls are omitted, estimates can be biased and inconsistent whereas using too many controls can reduce efficiency and mask effects. We advocate a much broader search for controls than is customary, at least in the crime literature, and then the use of the general-to-specific methodology to select the relevant controls. We illustrate this procedure using a fixed effects panel data design evaluating the effect of legalized abortion on crime.

Suggested Citation

Moody, Carlisle E. and Marvell, Thomas B., On the Choice of Control Variables in the Crime Equation. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 72, Issue 5, pp. 696-715, October 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1665904 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0084.2010.00602.x

Carlisle E. Moody (Contact Author)

College of William and Mary - Department of Economics ( email )

Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
United States
757-221-2373 (Phone)
757-221-1175 (Fax)

Crime Prevention Research Center ( email )

PO Box 3234
Alexandria, VA
United States

Thomas B. Marvell

Justec Research ( email )

155 Ridings Cove
Williamsburg, VA 23185
United States
757-229-3531 (Phone)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics