Unemployment and Right-Wing Extremist Crime

29 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2005

See all articles by Armin Falk

Armin Falk

briq - Institute on Behavior & Inequality

Josef Zweimüller

University of Zurich - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2005

Abstract

Right-wing extremism is a serious problem in many societies. A prominent hypothesis states that unemployment plays a crucial role for the occurrence of right-wing extremist crime. In this paper we empirically test this hypothesis. We use a previously not used data set which includes all officially recorded right-wing criminal acts in Germany. These data are recorded by the German Federal Criminal Police Office on a monthly and state level basis. Our main finding is that there is in fact a significant positive relation between unemployment and right-wing criminal activities. We show further that the big difference in right-wing crime between East and West German states can mostly be attributed to differences in unemployment. This finding reinforces the importance of unemployment as an explanatory factor for right-wing crime and questions explanations based solely on the different socialization in former communist East Germany and the liberal West German states. Our data further allow us to separate violent from non-violent right-wing crimes. We show that unemployment is closely related to both types of crimes, but that the association with non-violent crimes is much stronger. Since right-wing crime is committed particularly by relatively young males, we also explore whether the youth unemployment rate is a better predictor for right-wing crime than total unemployment. This hypothesis can be rejected: given total unemployment, a higher share of youth unemployment does not affect right-wing extremist crime rates.

Keywords: hate crime, right-wing extremism, unemployment, cost of unemployment

JEL Classification: K14, J60, J15

Suggested Citation

Falk, Armin and Zweimueller, Josef, Unemployment and Right-Wing Extremist Crime (March 2005). IZA Discussion Paper No. 1540. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=695222

Armin Falk (Contact Author)

briq - Institute on Behavior & Inequality

Schaumburg-Lippe-Straße 5-9
Bonn, 53113
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.briq-institute.org/

Josef Zweimueller

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Zuerich, 8006
Switzerland
+411 634 3724 (Phone)
+411 634 4907 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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