Crime and the Labor Market
NBER Working Paper No. 1031
Much work on crime has focussed 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 corcludes 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 performane of the labor market.