Under the Cover of Darkness: How Ambient Light Influences Criminal Activity

42 Pages Posted: 8 May 2015

See all articles by Jennifer L. Doleac

Jennifer L. Doleac

Texas A&M University - Department of Economics

Nicholas J. Sanders

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis and Management

Date Written: October 1, 2014

Abstract

We exploit Daylight Saving Time (DST) as an exogenous shock to daylight, using both the discontinuous nature of the policy and the 2007 extension of DST, to consider how light impacts criminal activity. Regression discontinuity estimates show a 7% decrease in robberies following the shift to DST. As expected, effects are largest during the hours directly affected by the shift in daylight. We discuss our findings within the context of criminal decision-making and labor supply, and estimate that the 2007 DST extension resulted in $59 million in annual social cost savings from avoided robberies.

Keywords: Daylight Saving Time, crime, robbery

JEL Classification: K42

Suggested Citation

Doleac, Jennifer L. and Sanders, Nicholas J., Under the Cover of Darkness: How Ambient Light Influences Criminal Activity (October 1, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2603461 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2603461

Jennifer L. Doleac (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University - Department of Economics ( email )

5201 University Blvd.
College Station, TX 77843-4228
United States

HOME PAGE: http://jenniferdoleac.com/

Nicholas J. Sanders

Cornell University - Department of Policy Analysis and Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY
United States

HOME PAGE: http://njsanders.human.cornell.edu

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