Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

Is Crime Contagious?

41 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2006  

Jens Ludwig

Georgetown University - Public Policy Institute (GPPI); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Jeffrey R. Kling

Government of the United States of America - Congressional Budget Office (CBO); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 2006

Abstract

Understanding whether criminal behavior is %u201Ccontagious%u201D is important for law enforcement and for policies that affect how people are sorted across social settings. We test the hypothesis that criminal behavior is contagious by using data from the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) randomized housing-mobility experiment to examine the extent to which lower local-area crime rates decrease arrest rates among individuals. Our analysis exploits the fact that the effect of treatment group assignment yields different types of neighborhood changes across the five MTO demonstration sites. We use treatment-site interactions to instrument for measures of neighborhood crime rates, poverty and racial segregation in our analysis of individual arrest outcomes. We are unable to detect evidence in support of the contagion hypothesis. Neighborhood racial segregation appears to be the most important explanation for across-neighborhood variation in arrests for violent crimes in our sample, perhaps because drug market activity is more common in high-minority neighborhoods.

Suggested Citation

Ludwig, Jens and Kling, Jeffrey R., Is Crime Contagious? (August 2006). NBER Working Paper No. w12409. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=923062

Jens Ludwig (Contact Author)

Georgetown University - Public Policy Institute (GPPI) ( email )

3600 N Street, NW Suite 200
Washington, DC 20057
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Jeffrey Kling

Government of the United States of America - Congressional Budget Office (CBO) ( email )

Ford House Office Building
2nd & D Streets, SW
Washington, DC 20515-6925
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
22
Abstract Views
629