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Crime in Europe and the United States: dissecting the ‘reversal of misfortunes’



Type:   Article
Titre:   Crime in Europe and the United States: dissecting the ‘reversal of misfortunes’
Auteur(s):   Buonanno, Paolo - University of Bergamo (Auteur)
Drago, Francesco - Università degli studi di Napoli Federico II (Auteur)
Galbiati, Roberto (1977-...) - Université Paris Nanterre (UPN) (Auteur)
Zanella, Giulio - University of Bologna, Department of Economics (Auteur)
In:   Economic Policy
Date de publication:   2011-07
Éditeur:   ROYAUME-UNI  :  Blackwell Publishing
Pages:   347-385  p.
ISSN:   14680327
DOI:   10.1111/j.1468-0327.2011.00267.x
Mots-clés:   [en] Crime control policies, Empirical investigation, Crime trends
Résumé:   [en] Contrary to common perceptions, today both property and violent crimes (with the exception of homicides) are more widespread in Europe than in the United States, while the opposite was true thirty years ago. We label this fact as the ‘reversal of misfortunes’. We investigate what accounts for the reversal by studying the causal impact of demographic changes, incarceration, abortion, unemployment and immigration on crime. For this we use time series data (1970-2008) from seven European countries and the United States. We find that the demographic structure of the population and the incarceration rate are important determinants of crime. Our results suggest that a tougher incarceration policy may be an effective way to contrast crime in Europe. Our analysis does not provide information on how incarceration policy should be made tougher nor does it provide an answer to the question whether such a policy would also be efficient from a cost‐benefit point of view. We leave this to future research.


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