Life is Now! Time Discounting and Crime: Evidence from the Italian Regions (2002-2007)

ICER Working Paper No. 18/2011

29 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2011

See all articles by Sergio Beraldo

Sergio Beraldo

University of Naples Federico II

Raul Caruso

Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan

Gilberto Turati

Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome

Date Written: October 20, 2011

Abstract

This paper tests the relationship between time preferences and crime rates as posited by Davis (1988), whose theoretical analysis suggests that individuals’ attitude towards the future significantly affect their propensity to commit crime. Our empirical analysis is based on a panel of Italian regions for the period 2002-2007. Various proxies for time preferences are considered: the consumer credit share out of the total amount of loans to households, the share of obese individuals out of the total population, and the rate of marriages out of the total population. In line with the theoretical prediction, our empirical analysis confirms that where people are more impatient and discount the future more heavily, property and violent crimes are higher. Results are robust to a number of alternative specifications including covariates drawn from the literature on the determinants of crime.

Keywords: time preferences, property crime, violent crime, Italian regions, panel data

JEL Classification: D99, K42, Z13

Suggested Citation

Beraldo, Sergio and Caruso, Raul and Turati, Gilberto, Life is Now! Time Discounting and Crime: Evidence from the Italian Regions (2002-2007) (October 20, 2011). ICER Working Paper No. 18/2011 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1953198 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1953198

Sergio Beraldo (Contact Author)

University of Naples Federico II ( email )

Caserta

Raul Caruso

Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan ( email )

20123 Milano
Italy

Gilberto Turati

Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome ( email )

Largo F. Vito, 1
Rome, 00168
Italy

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