Local Access to Mental Healthcare and Crime
We estimate the effect of local access to office-based mental healthcare on crime. We leverage variation in the number of mental healthcare offices within a county over the period 1999 to 2014 in a two-way fixed-effects model. We find that increases in the number of mental healthcare offices modestly reduce crime. In particular, ten additional offices in a county reduces crime by 1.7 crimes per 10,000 residents. These findings suggest an unintended benefit from expanding the office-based mental healthcare workforce: reductions in crime.
All authors contributed equally to this study. Authors are listed in alphabetical order. We thank seminar participants at the Southern Health Economics Study Group, the American Society of Health Economists Annual meeting, Indiana University, New York University, Tufts University, RAND Corporation, University of Connecticut, University of Kentucky, University of New Hampshire, and University of Wisconsin, and Dhaval Dave, Jose Fernandez, Michael French and Douglas Webber for helpful comments. All errors are our own. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.