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Dust storms and violent crime

Benjamin Jones

Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 2022, vol. 111, issue C

Abstract: Dust storms are among the largest global sources of atmospheric particulate matter and have pronounced impacts on environmental conditions and can affect individual ways-of-life. In the US, dust storm activity is generally increasing in frequency due to ongoing climate change. I shed light on a previously unknown impact of these events (on violent crimes) by exploiting their periodic occurrences as a source of exogenous environmental shocks to air pollution and daily routines. Using high-frequency data and high-dimensional fixed effects, I find strong evidence that dust storm activity is associated with violent crimes. Importantly, I show that avoidance behaviors, triggered by dust storm warnings, can largely mitigate the observed violent crime impacts. Policy implications are discussed.

Keywords: Dust storms; Violent crime; Warnings; PM2.5; Avoidance behaviors; Time use (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: K42 Q53 Q54 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jeem.2021.102590

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Journal of Environmental Economics and Management is currently edited by M.A. Cole, A. Lange, D.J. Phaneuf, D. Popp, M.J. Roberts, M.D. Smith, C. Timmins, Q. Weninger and A.J. Yates

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