Immigration, Crime, and Crime (Mis)Perceptions

57 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2021

See all articles by Nicolas Ajzenman

Nicolas Ajzenman

Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) - Sao Paulo School of Economics

Patricio Dominguez-Rivera

Inter-American Development Bank

Raimundo Undurraga

New York University (NYU)

Abstract

This paper studies the effects of immigration on crime and crime perceptions in Chile, where the foreign-born population more than doubled in the last decade. By using individual-level victimization data, we document null effects of immigration on crime but positive and significant effects on crime-related concerns, which in turn triggered preventive behavioral responses, such as investing in home-security. Our results are robust across a two-way fixed effects model and an IV strategy based on a shift-share instrument that exploits immigration inflows towards destination countries other than Chile. On mechanisms, we examine data on crime-related news on TV and in newspapers, and find a disproportionate coverage of immigrant-perpetrated homicides as well as a larger effect of immigration on crime perceptions in municipalities with a stronger media presence. These effects might explain the widening gap between actual crime trends and public perceptions of crime.

JEL Classification: O15, F22, K1

Suggested Citation

Ajzenman, Nicolas and Dominguez-Rivera, Patricio and Undurraga, Raimundo, Immigration, Crime, and Crime (Mis)Perceptions. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14087, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3780453 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3780453

Nicolas Ajzenman (Contact Author)

Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) - Sao Paulo School of Economics ( email )

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Patricio Dominguez-Rivera

Inter-American Development Bank

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Washington, DC 20577
United States

Raimundo Undurraga

New York University (NYU) ( email )

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