What Part of the Income Distribution Matters for Explaining Property Crime? The Case of Colombia

CEDE Working Paper No. 2003-07

23 Pages Posted: 7 May 2003

See all articles by Fabio Sánchez

Fabio Sánchez

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics

Jairo Nunez

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics; Ministerio de la Proteccion Social

Francois Bourguignon

Paris School of Economics

Date Written: March 2003

Abstract

Inequality has always been taken as a major explanatory factor of the rate of crime. Yet, the evidence in favor of that hypothesis is weak. Pure cross-sectional analyses show significant positive effects but do not control for fixed effects. Time series and panel data point to a variety of results, but few turn out being significant. The hypothesis maintained in this paper is that it is a specific part of the distribution, rather than the overall distribution as summarized by conventional inequality measures, that is most likely to influence the rate of (property) crime in a given society. Using a simple theoretical model and panel data in 7 Colombian cities over a 20 year period, we design a method that permits identifying the precise segment of the population whose relative income best explains time changes in crime.

Keywords: Crime economics, income distribution, inequality

JEL Classification: C23, D3, D63, K42

Suggested Citation

Sánchez Torres, Fabio and Nunez Mendez, Jairo Augusto and Bourguignon, François, What Part of the Income Distribution Matters for Explaining Property Crime? The Case of Colombia (March 2003). CEDE Working Paper No. 2003-07, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=393881 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.393881

Fabio Sánchez Torres (Contact Author)

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics ( email )

Carrera 1a No. 18A-10
Santafe de Bogota, AA4976
Colombia
+57 1 332 4495 (Phone)
+57 1 332 4492 (Fax)

Jairo Augusto Nunez Mendez

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics ( email )

Carrera 1a No. 18A-10
Santafe de Bogota, AA4976
Colombia

Ministerio de la Proteccion Social

Cra. 13 No. 32-76 Piso 22
Bogota
Colombia

François Bourguignon

Paris School of Economics ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

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