What Accounts for the Decline in Crime?

33 Pages Posted: 2 May 2001 Last revised: 18 Nov 2007

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

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2001

Abstract

In this paper we analyze recent trends in aggregate property crime rates in the United States. We propose a dynamic equilibrium model which 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.

Keywords: property crime, inequality, dynamics

JEL Classification: K42, D58, D99

Suggested Citation

Imrohoroglu, Ayse and Merlo, Antonio M. and Rupert, Peter, What Accounts for the Decline in Crime? (March 2001). USC Finance & Business Econ. Working Paper No. 01-15, FRB of Cleveland Working Paper No. 00-08, PIER Working Paper No. 01-012, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=267784 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.267784

Ayse Imrohoroglu

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

701 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA California 90089
United States
213-740-6518 (Phone)
213-740-6650 (Fax)

Antonio M. Merlo (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
133 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States
215-898-7933 (Phone)
215-573-2057 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ssc.upenn.edu/~merloa

Rice University ( email )

6100 South Main Street
Houston, TX 77005-1892
United States

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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