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The unequal impact of natural light on crime

Emiliano Tealde ()
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Emiliano Tealde: Catholic University of Uruguay

Journal of Population Economics, 2022, vol. 35, issue 3, No 3, 893-934

Abstract: Abstract This paper studies the relationship between ambient light and criminal activity. I develop a Becker-style crime model that shows that a sudden increase in ambient light produces a larger reduction in crime in areas with less public lighting. Daylight savings time (DST), the natural experiment used, induces a sharp increase in natural light during crime-intense hours. Using geolocated data on crime and public lighting for the city of Montevideo in Uruguay, regression discontinuity estimates identify a strong and statistically significant decrease in robbery of 17%. The decrease is larger in poorly lit areas. Computing the level of public lighting at which DST has no effect on crime reduction, I identify the minimum level of public lighting that an area should target.

Keywords: DST; Property crime; Public lighting; Heterogeneous effects (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: K42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1007/s00148-021-00831-8

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