What Accounts for the Decline in Crime?

23 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2004

See all articles by Ayse Imrohoroglu

Ayse Imrohoroglu

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business

Antonio Merlo

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics; Rice University

Peter Rupert

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Economics

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Abstract

In this article we analyze recent trends in aggregate property crime rates in the United States. We propose a dynamic equilibrium model that guides our quantitative investigation of the major determinants of observed patterns of crime. Our main findings can be summarized as follows: First, the model is capable of reproducing the drop in crime between 1980 and 1996. Second, the most important factors that account for the observed decline in property crime are the higher apprehension probability, the stronger economy, and the aging of the population. Third, the effect of unemployment on crime is negligible. Fourth, the increased inequality prevented an even larger decline in crime. Overall, our analysis can account for the behavior of the time series of property crime rates over the past quarter century.

Suggested Citation

Imrohoroglu, Ayse and Merlo, Antonio M. and Rupert, Peter, What Accounts for the Decline in Crime?. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=584213

Ayse Imrohoroglu (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business ( email )

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Antonio M. Merlo

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
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HOME PAGE: http://www.ssc.upenn.edu/~merloa

Rice University ( email )

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Peter Rupert

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) - Department of Economics ( email )

2127 North Hall
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

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