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Local access to mental healthcare and crime

Monica Deza, Johanna Catherine Maclean and Keisha Solomon

Journal of Urban Economics, 2022, vol. 129, issue C

Abstract: 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 reduce crime. In particular, ten additional offices in a county reduces crime by 1.6 crimes per 10,000 residents, or 0.4% relative to the sample mean. Adjusting crimes based on their social costs implies larger effect sizes: ten additional offices reduces crime costs per capita by 2.2%. These findings suggest an unintended benefit from expanding the office-based mental healthcare workforce: reductions in crime.

Keywords: Mental health; Crime; Healthcare; Spillovers; Workforce (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I10 I18 J20 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jue.2021.103410

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