This paper considers the relationship between inequality and crime using data from urban counties. The behavior of property and violent crime are quite different. Inequality has no effect on property crime but a strong and robust impact on violent crime, with an elasticity above 0.5. By contrast, poverty and police activity have significant effects on property crime, but little on violent crime. Property crime is well explained by the economic theory of crime, while violent crime is better explained by strain and social disorganization theories.
Type of Material
Review of Economics and Statistics
Copyright (Published Version)
Copyright 2000 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology