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Marriott Marquis, Torrey Pines 3
American Economic Association
Criminal Behavior, Crime Policy and Violent Crime
Friday, Jan. 3, 2020 10:15 AM - 12:15 PM (PDT)
- Chair: Ryan Brown, University of Colorado Denver
Access to Guns in the Heat of the Moment: The Effect of Gun Laws on Violent Crime
AbstractGun violence is a major problem in the United States, imposing significant social costs. However, evaluating the effects of gun regulations on violent crimes poses significant empirical challenges. Here we propose a new approach to identify the effects of gun regulations on violent crimes. We exploit the well-established relationship between temperature and violent crime to understand the degree to which gun control laws exacerbate or mitigate temperature-induced changes in violent crime, holding fixed local preferences for guns and gun control. Using 25 years of daily violent crime reports we find that within a county-month higher daily temperatures are associated with an increase in the number of homicides and assaults and that more lenient gun laws -- allowing more residents to carry firearms -- exacerbates the temperature-homicide relationship. Our main estimate suggests that the temperature-homicide relationship is 1.5 times larger in states with lenient gun laws, compared to states with strict gun laws. Collectively, our results suggest that greater access to guns increases the likelihood that confrontations are lethal and that more lenient access to guns is associated with substantial social costs.
Job Loss and Crime in Colombia
AbstractWe investigate the effects of job displacement, as a result of mass-layoffs, on crime using a novel matched employer-employee-crime dataset for Medellin, Colombia. Job displacement leads to immediate earnings losses, and an increased likelihood of being arrested. We leverage variation in opportunities for legitimate reemployment and access to consumption credit to investigate the mechanisms underlying this job loss-crime relationship. Workers in booming sectors with more opportunities for legitimate reemployment exhibit weaker criminality responses to job losses, as do those with better access to baseline consumption credit. Unlike previous work investigating the mitigative effects of unemployment insurance benefits and other safety net policies, mostly in high income and low crime contexts, this paper emphasizes the role of economic incentives (i.e., legitimate reemployment alternatives and consumption necessity) in criminality responses to job losses in the absence of multi-faceted programs (e.g., income replacement, job search and match assistance, and training) with often distortionary eligibility criteria and timelines.
Should I Stay or Should I Go? The Effect of Residential Voting in a Gang-Controlled Context
AbstractThis paper examines the role of bringing voting centers closer to citizens' residences on political and economic outcomes in the context of organized crime. We exploit the rollout of a large public policy "Residential Voting"(RV) implemented in El Salvador where two main gangs controlled almost 50 percent of the territory and behave as a parallel state. Using the timing of the policy and the exact boundaries of gang-controlled neighborhoods, we find that RV in fact increased electoral participation. However, we find that RV had a negative or null effect in municipalities with neighborhoods controlled by gangs. We also find a change in the composition of the votes share for main left- wing political party in these municipalities. Furthermore, we find a null or negative effect on public good provision and increase in inequality in municipalities with gangs presence. We argue that these results are driven by the lack of citizen's free movement in gang-controlled municipalities. As new voting centers got closer to gang territories, RV led to the disenfranchisement of some voters, reducing their willingness to participate in elections because of fear of experiencing some act of violence (such as death) when crossing to rival gang territory to vote. Consistent with the mobility mechanism, we find that effects are only driven by the municipalities where two gangs are competing for territory with no effects on municipalities where one gang has the monopoly of violence.
University of California-Los Angeles
Louisiana State University
- K4 - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior
- K3 - Other Substantive Areas of Law