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Effects of crime and violence on business confidence: evidence from Rio de Janeiro

André Filipe Guedes Almeida and Gabriel Montes

Journal of Economic Studies, 2020, vol. 47, issue 7, 1669-1688

Abstract: Purpose - Due to the fact that crime and violence affect the economy and the business environment, and since the economic environment affects entrepreneurs' expectations and therefore their decisions, this study analyzes the effect of both violence and crime on the confidence of entrepreneurs from the state of Rio de Janeiro. Design/methodology/approach - Making use of time series methodology, the authors provide OLS and GMM estimates for the effects of violence and crime on the business confidence index of entrepreneurs in Rio de Janeiro. The analysis of the Rio de Janeiro case is relevant since Rio de Janeiro is the second state, after São Paulo, with the largest participation in the Brazilian GDP, and crime and violence have very high indicators in this state. The analysis comprises the period between January 2012 and July 2018 (monthly data). Findings - The results suggest that violence and crime negatively impact business confidence in Rio de Janeiro. The estimates reveal that, among all economic and noneconomic variables, the third variable with the greatest impact on business confidence is “cargo thefts.” An increase of one standard deviation in this variable reduces business confidence by approximately 2.48 basis points, while increases of one standard deviation in “violent deaths,” “commerce thefts” and “extortion” reduce business confidence by approximately 1.24, 1.46 and 1.47 bp, respectively. The impacts caused by these violence and crime variables are greater than the effect caused by an increase of one standard deviation in the real interest rate. Practical implications - The findings reveal that a stable economic environment with economic growth is as important to business confidence as the adoption of policies aimed at increasing public security through the fight against crime and violence. Originality/value - If on the one hand the literature provides evidence that crime is harmful to the economy, on the other hand no study has so far analyzed the impact of crime and violence on business confidence. This type of analysis is relevant since confidence is an important aspect in the expectation formation process and thus to production and investment decisions and economic activity. Thus, this study is the first to analyze the effects of crime and violence on business confidence and consequently, the first to explore the consequences of crime on the economy through the expectations channel.

Keywords: Violence; Crime; Business confidence; Expectation channel; Growth (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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