The Effect of the Exposure to Refugees on Crime Activity: Evidence from the Greek Islands

45 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2020

See all articles by Rigissa Megalokonomou

Rigissa Megalokonomou

University of Queensland - School of Economics

Chrysovalantis Vasilakis

Bangor Business School; Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; University of Aegean

Date Written: April 1, 2020

Abstract

Political instability in the Middle East has triggered the largest flow of asylum seekers in Europe since WWII. In their attempt to enter Europe, refugees use boats that depart from various locations along the Turkish coast, heading toward the closest Greek island. We use exogenous variation in the number of refugees across the islands to answer two questions: (1) Do refugees commit more crimes in the destination islands? (2) What kinds of crimes are more likely to be committed? We assembled a new dataset on the number and nature of crime incidents at the island level based on newspaper reports. We employ instrumental variables and difference-indifferences techniques to study the causal relationship between immigration and crime. We find that a 1-percentage-point increase in the share of refugees on the destination island increases reported crime incidents by 3-5% compared with neighboring unexposed islands. We find that this difference in the violence pattern is driven by crime incidents committed by the foreign-born population, while there is no change in reported crimes committed by natives on those islands. Additionally, we show that there is no increase in drug-related crimes, while there is an increase in incidents of property crimes, knife attacks, and rape.

Keywords: crime, migration, property, Greek islands, rape, difference-in-differences, instrumental variable

JEL Classification: : F61, F22, K42, J15

Suggested Citation

Megalokonomou, Rigissa and Vasilakis, Chrysovalantis, The Effect of the Exposure to Refugees on Crime Activity: Evidence from the Greek Islands (April 1, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3566564 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3566564

Rigissa Megalokonomou

University of Queensland - School of Economics ( email )

Brisbane, QLD 4072
Australia

Chrysovalantis Vasilakis (Contact Author)

Bangor Business School ( email )

Bangor Business School
College Road
Gwynedd LL57 2DG, Wales LL57 2DG
United Kingdom

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Department of Economics ( email )

Department of Economics
B1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348
Belgium

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

University of Aegean ( email )

Chios, 82131
Greece

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
15
Abstract Views
108
PlumX Metrics