Crime and Durable Goods
We develop a theoretical model to study how changes in the durability of the goods affects prices of stolen goods, the incentives to steal and the equilibrium crime rate. When studying the production of durable goods, we find that the presence of crime affects consumer and producer surplus and thus their behaviour, market equilibrium, and, in turn, the social optimum. Lower durability of goods reduces the incentive to steal those goods, thus reducing crime. When crime is included in the standard framework of durable goods, the socially optimal durability level is lower. When considering different stealing technologies, perfect competition either over-produces durability or produces zero (minimum) durability. The monopolist under-produces durability. The model has a clear policy implication: the durability of goods, and the market structure for those goods, can be an effective instrument to reduce crime. In particular, making the durability of a good contingent upon that good being stolen is likely to increase welfare. We also study the incentives to develop and use this optimal technology.
The authors thank Omar Chisari, Victor Filipe, Francisco Poggi, and participants at the following seminars for helpful comments: 2018 Royal Economic Society Annual Conference, Wharton School, Fundação Getulio Vargas EESP, Universidad Diego Portales, Academia Nacional de Ciencias Economicas of Argentina, World Bank and LICIP Crime and Policies seminar at Universidad Torcuato Di Tella. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Sebastian Galiani & Laura Jaitman & Federico Weinschelbaum, 2020. "Crime and durable goods," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, vol 173, pages 146-163. citation courtesy of