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The Effect of Changes in Border Regimes on Border Regions Crime Rates: Evidence from the Schengen Treaty

Malte Sandner and Pia Wassmann

Kyklos, 2018, vol. 71, issue 3, 482-506

Abstract: In recent years, many countries have increased border controls, partly in response to public concerns that open borders favor cross‐border crime. Despite these widespread concerns, empirical research on whether public fears are justified is still scarce. This article evaluates whether the abolition of border controls at the eastern German and Austrian borders accompanying the implementation of the Schengen Treaty in December 2007 increased crime rates in the border areas of these countries. Based on official crime statistics, conditional difference‐in‐differences estimation allows the evaluation of border controls in a causal way. Results show that in Germany and Austria, a significant positive effect can only be observed for burglaries, suggesting that public concerns proved to be justified for this type of criminal offense. In contrast, no significant effect can be observed for overall crime rates or for other common types of crime against property, indicating that there is little empirical evidence for the widespread concerns about public security.

Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:71:y:2018:i:3:p:482-506