Crime, Transitory Poverty, and Isolation: Evidence from Madagascar
Cornell Food and Nutrition Policy Program Working Paper No. 137
33 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2004
Date Written: May 2004
This paper investigates the relationship between poverty and crime. Following a disputed presidential election, fuel supply to the highlands of Madagascar was severely curtailed in early 2002, resulting in a massive increase in poverty and transport costs. Using original survey data collected in June 2002 at the height of the crisis, we find that crop theft increases with transitory poverty. We also find that an increase in law enforcement personnel locally reduces cattle theft which, in Madagascar, is a form of organized crime. Theft, thus, appears to be used by some of the rural poor as a risk coping strategy. Increased transport costs led to a rise in cattle and crop theft, confirming earlier findings that, in Madagascar, geographical isolation is associated with certain forms of crime.
JEL Classification: K14, I39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation