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An evaluation of the Federal Legal Services Program: Evidence from crime rates and property values

Jamein P. Cunningham

Journal of Urban Economics, 2016, vol. 92, issue C, 76-90

Abstract: This paper uses the city-level roll-out of legal service grants to evaluate their effects on crime. Using Uniform Crime Reports from 1960 to 1985, the results show that there is a short-run increase of 7% in crimes reported and a 16% increase in crimes cleared by arrest. Results show an increase in the staffing of police officers in cities that received legal services. These cities are also associated with having higher median property values 10 years later. This supports the narrative that legal services changed police behavior through litigation or threats of litigation.

Keywords: Crime; Lawyers; Law firms; Poverty; Property values; War on poverty; Riots (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:92:y:2016:i:c:p:76-90