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The non-financial costs of violent public disturbances: Emotional responses to the 2011 riots in England

Panka Bencsik

Journal of Housing Economics, 2018, vol. 40, issue C, 73-82

Abstract: The August of 2011 saw the largest riots in the United Kingdom in decades. Half of London's boroughs, as well as neighborhoods in several other cities, were impacted through the more than 200 individual riot events that caused £200 ($300) million in property damage. Despite widespread media coverage at the time, we know little about what citizens experienced during the riots. This paper bridges that gap using daily response panel data (from the Mappiness smartphone application) to estimate the beyond-monetary costs of the riots. Based on the difference-in-differences estimation, the disturbances substantially increased unhappiness and stress in areas they affected. This negative effect was even more pronounced in areas with the biggest proportion of Black residents, and it also reached a national scale, as even neighborhoods without riots experienced a pronounced wellbeing loss. The negative effects persisted beyond the end of the disturbances, at least until the end of the summer. Citizens changed their behavior in response to the events, respondents in neighborhoods with riots started seeking information and communicating more, which manifested in higher levels of TV watching, texting, email, and social media use. The English riots form part of a larger trend in current social tensions—with a marked wellbeing loss for the majority of Brits.

Keywords: Wellbeing; Stress; Riots; Race; Deprivation; Crime (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I31 K42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jhe.2018.03.002

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