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Economic Trends and Cycles in Crime: A Study for England and Wales

Sunčica Vujić (), Siem Jan Koopman () and Commandeur J.F. ()
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Commandeur J.F.: Department of Econometrics FEWEB, VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1105, 1081 HV Amsterdam , The Netherlands

Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), 2012, vol. 232, issue 6, 652-677

Abstract: This paper models cyclical behaviour in property crime series (burglary and theft) in relation to the macroeconomic activity indicators in England and Wales in the period from 1955 to 2001. Using unobserved components (UC) time series models, univariate time series analysis suggests that recorded burglary (theft) data is subject to stochastic cycle processes with typical business cycle frequencies of approximately 5 and 10 years. In the multivariate UC time series framework, recorded burglary (theft) is simultaneously modelled in a trivariate model, together with unemployment and real GDP time series. We also estimate a five-variate model, where we simultaneously model burglary, theft, unemployment, real GDP, and police variables. Some interesting findings in these analyses are: (i) observed cyclical behaviour in recorded property crime is almost fully determined by the economic business cycles; (ii) explanatory variables such as sentence length, imprisonment and conviction rates affect the short-term dynamics more than the long-term dynamics; (iii) motivational and opportunity effects between macroeconomic and crime time series can be distinguished in our modelling framework.

Keywords: Unobserved components models; crime rates; cycles (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012
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DOI: 10.1515/jbnst-2012-0607

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