Criminality and Social Inequality in Brazil
IPEA Discussion Paper No. 967
28 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2003
Date Written: July 2003
This study aims at shedding light the question on the criminality in Brazil. Previous analyses have concentrated on the impact of social factors, as for instance inequality, on criminality, nevertheless without making explicit the mechanism by which this variable works. The main hypothesis here is that the agent has a targeted consumption pattern given by average social standards. The non-satisfied consumption creates dissatisfaction, thus making the agent vulnerable to criminal activities. Using Becker's analysis (1968) in the intertemporal maximizing framework, this study shows that the required income to do not undertake illicit activities grows up in a proportional way to the degree of dissatisfaction. Following the methodological approach, it is tested the influence of social inequality on criminality rates for a sample of Brazilian states during the period 1987-1995 using panel data approach. The use of this method allows estimators capable of taking into account the existing heterogeneity among states. The main result that emerges is that social inequality given by the Gini coefficient has a positive impact on criminality rates.
Keywords: Criminality, Target Consumption, Dissatisfaction, Panel Data
JEL Classification: K4, C25, Z13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation