Four factors that explain both the rise and fall of US crime, 1970-2003

Author: Shoesmith, Gary

Source: Applied Economics, Volume 42, Number 23, September 2010 , pp. 2957-2973(17)

Publisher: Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group

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Previous research has failed to explain the rise and fall of US crime since 1970. This study uses cointegration, error correction and common long-memory components analyses to demonstrate that four basic crime factors explaining both the increases in US violent and property crime between 1970 and 1991 and the dramatic declines in crime after 1991. The four factors include arrest rates, income per capita, the proportion of criminal-justice resources devoted to drug crime and alcohol consumption. Error correction models and common long-memory factors show an especially close link between crime rates and the percentage of prison resources devoted to drug offenders. Similar factors result in cointegrated models for murder, rape, robbery, assault and larceny. Additional modelling shows that effective abortion rates computed along the lines of Donohue and Levitt (2001) do not help in explaining the rise and fall of US crime.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Babcock Graduate School of Management, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC 27109

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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