Stealing to Survive: Crime and Income Shocks in 19th Century France
44 Pages Posted: 29 Feb 2012
Date Written: January 21, 2012
Using local administrative data from 1826 to 1936 we document the evolution of crime rates in 19th century France and we estimate the impact of a negative income shock on crime. Our identification strategy exploits the phylloxera crisis. Between 1863 and 1890, phylloxera destroyed about 40% of French vineyards. Using the geographical variation in the timing of this shock we instrument wine production and we identify the effects of the shock on property and violent crime rates. Our estimates suggest that the phylloxera crisis did not significantly impact violent crimes but caused an increase in property crimes of about 9%.
Keywords: crime, income shock, phylloxera, 19th century France
JEL Classification: K42, N33, R11
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