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NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Garrett Summers

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July 2010What Do Economists Know about Crime?
with Angela K. Dills, Jeffrey A. Miron
in The Economics of Crime: Lessons for and from Latin America, Rafael Di Tella, Sebastian Edwards, and Ernesto Schargrodsky, editors
January 2008What Do Economists Know About Crime?
with Angela K. Dills, Jeffrey A. Miron: w13759
In this paper we evaluate what economists have learned over the past 40 years about the determinants of crime. We base our evaluation on two kinds of evidence: an examination of aggregate data over long time periods and across countries, and a critical review of the literature. We argue that economists know little about the empirically relevant determinants of crime. Even hypotheses that find some support in U.S. data for recent decades are inconsistent with data over longer horizons or across countries. This conclusion applies both to policy variables like arrest rates or capital punishment and to less conventional factors such as abortion or gun laws. The hypothesis that drug prohibition generates violence, however, is generally consistent with the long times-series and cross-country fac...

Published: What Do Economists Know about Crime?, Angela K. Dills, Jeffrey A. Miron, Garrett Summers. in The Economics of Crime: Lessons for and from Latin America, Di Tella, Edwards, and Schargrodsky. 2010

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers only

 
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