EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Crime and conspicuous consumption

Daniel Mejia () and Pascual Restrepo ()

Journal of Public Economics, 2016, vol. 135, issue C, 1-14

Abstract: We study how property crime distorts consumption decisions. Using an incomplete information model, we argue that consuming conspicuous goods reveals information to criminals seeking bountiful victims and increases the likelihood of being victimized. Thus, property crime reduces the consumption of visible goods, even when these cannot be directly stolen but simply carry information about a potential victim's wealth. We exploit the large decline in property crime in the U.S. during the 90s to test this mechanism. Using data from the U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey from 1986 to 2003, we find that households located in states experiencing sharper reductions in property crime increased significantly their consumption of visible goods, even when these goods are not generally stolen, both in absolute terms and relative to other consumption goods. Our findings hold when we instrument the decline in property crime during the 90s using a variety of strategies.

Keywords: Crime; Conspicuous consumption; Concerns for status (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: K42 D11 D12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (4) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047272715001188
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

Related works:
Working Paper: Crime and Conspicuous Consumption (2010) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:135:y:2016:i:c:p:1-14

DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2015.06.004

Access Statistics for this article

Journal of Public Economics is currently edited by R. Boadway and J. Poterba

More articles in Journal of Public Economics from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Haili He ().

 
Page updated 2020-08-08
Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:135:y:2016:i:c:p:1-14