Inequality, Crime, and the Long Run Legacy of Slavery

CAF – Working paper N° 2016/17 12/2016

33 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2017

See all articles by Paolo Buonanno

Paolo Buonanno

University of Bergamo

Juan F. Vargas

Universidad del Rosario - Faculty of Economics

Date Written: December 2016

Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between economic inequality and crime in Colombian municipalities. Following recent scholarly research that suggests that the legacy of slavery is largely manifest in persistent levels of economic inequality, we instrument economic inequality with a census-based measure of the proportion of slaves in each municipality before the abolition of slavery in the 19 century. We also explore the robustness of our estimates to relaxing the exclusion restriction, as the slavery instrument is only plausibly exogenous. We document a strong association between inequality and both violent and property crime rates at the municipal level. Our estimates are robust to including traditional determinants of crime (like population density, the proportion of young males, the average education level, the quality of law enforcement institutions, and the overall economic activity), as well as current ethnic differences and geographic characteristics that may be correlated both with the slave economy and with crime.

Keywords: Slavery, Inequality, Crime, Colombia

JEL Classification: D63, J15, K42, N36

Suggested Citation

Buonanno, Paolo and Vargas, Juan F., Inequality, Crime, and the Long Run Legacy of Slavery (December 2016). CAF – Working paper N° 2016/17 12/2016 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2942033 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2942033

Juan F. Vargas

Universidad del Rosario - Faculty of Economics ( email )

Casa Pedro Fermín
Calle 14 # 4-69
Bogota
Colombia

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
26
Abstract Views
299
PlumX Metrics