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Race and Riots: A Note on the Economic Impact of the Rodney King Riots

Victor Matheson () and Robert A. Baade
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Robert A. Baade: Department of Economics and Business, Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, IL 60045, USA. Fax: 847 735 6193. baade@lfc.edu

Urban Studies, 2004, vol. 41, issue 13, 2691-2696

Abstract: When the four police officers who had been videotaped beating motorist Rodney King were found not guilty of criminal acts in 1992, the city of Los Angeles erupted in the worst rioting seen in the US since the 1960s. The loss of life and destruction of property left a significant scar on the city. Time-series analysis indicates that the Rodney King riots not only reduced taxable sales in the city immediately following the unrest, but that this social catastrophe has had a lasting impact on the economic performance of the city of Los Angeles. In the 10 years since the riots, this continued loss of taxable sales has translated into a cumulative loss of at least $3.8 billion in taxable sales and over $125 million in direct sales tax revenue losses.

Date: 2004
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