Racial Beliefs, Location, and the Causes of Crime

30 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2004

See all articles by Thierry Verdier

Thierry Verdier

Paris School of Economics (PSE); Delta - Ecole Normale Superieure (ENS); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Yves Zenou

Monash University - Department of Economics; Stockholm University; Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IUI); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Abstract

This article provides a unified explanation for why blacks commit more crime, are located in poorer neighborhoods, and receive lower wages than whites. If everybody believes that blacks are more criminal than whites - even if there is no basis for this - then blacks are offered lower wages and, as a result, locate further away from jobs. Distant residence increases even more the black-white wage gap because of more tiredness and higher commuting costs. Blacks have thus a lower opportunity cost of committing crime and become indeed more criminal than whites. Therefore, beliefs are self-fulfilling.

Suggested Citation

Verdier, Thierry and Zenou, Yves, Racial Beliefs, Location, and the Causes of Crime. International Economic Review, Vol. 45, No. 3, pp. 731-760, August 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=572943

Thierry Verdier (Contact Author)

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014
France

Delta - Ecole Normale Superieure (ENS) ( email )

48, Boulevard Jourdan
75014 Paris
France
+33 1 4313 6308 (Phone)
+33 1 4313 6310 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Yves Zenou

Monash University - Department of Economics ( email )

Australia

Stockholm University ( email )

Universitetsvägen 10
Stockholm, Stockholm SE-106 91
Sweden

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IUI) ( email )

P.O. Box 5501
S-114 85 Stockholm
Sweden

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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