NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Crime and the Labor Market

Richard B. Freeman

NBER Working Paper No. 1031
Issued in November 1982
NBER Program(s):   LS

Much work on crime has focused on the effect of criminal sanctions on crime, ignoring (except as a control variable) the effect of labor market conditions on crime. This study reviews studies of time series, cross area, and individual evidence pertaining to the effect of unemployment and other labor market variables on crime and compares the "strength" of the labor market-crime and the sanctions-crime relations. It concludes that there is a labor market-crime link but that this link is not well estimated by existing studies and is weaker than the sanctions-crime link. The rise in crime in recent years does not appear to be greatly due to the performance of the labor market.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w1031

 
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