Universal Credit and Crime

47 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2020

See all articles by Rocco D'Este

Rocco D'Este

University of Sussex

Alex Harvey

affiliation not provided to SSRN


We evaluate the criminogenic effects of Universal Credit (UC), a monumental welfare reform designed to radically change the social security payment system in the United Kingdom. We exploit the UC rollout across constituencies using monthly data from 2010 to 2019 for England and Wales. We find UC has caused around 45,000 burglaries, with criminogenic effects lasting until the end of the sample period and expected to grow considerably by the time UC is fully rolled out when 6.5 million more individuals will use the system. The analysis suggests the worsening of benefit recipients' financial conditions as the key mechanism.

JEL Classification: K14, K42

Suggested Citation

D'Este, Rocco and Harvey, Alex, Universal Credit and Crime. IZA Discussion Paper No. 13484, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3654921 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3654921

Rocco D'Este (Contact Author)

University of Sussex

Sussex House
Brighton, BNI 9RH
United Kingdom

Alex Harvey

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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