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Brazilian Criminality: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis

Paulo Loureiro (), Mário Mendonça and Adolfo Sachsida ()
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Mário Mendonça: Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada– IPEA

No 340, Working papers - Textos para Discussao do Departamento de Economia da Universidade de Brasilia from Departamento de Economia da Universidade de Brasilia

Abstract: This study aims at shedding light on the issue of criminality in Brazil. Previous analyses have concentrated on the impact of social factors, such as inequality, on criminality, however without making explicit the mechanism by which this variable works. The main hypothesis here is that the agent has a targeted consumption pattern given by average social standards. Non-satisfied consumption creates dissatisfaction, thus making the agent vulnerable to criminal activities. Using Becker‟s analysis (1968) in the intertemporal maximizing framework, this study shows that the income required so as not engaging in illicit activities increases proportionally with the degree of dissatisfaction. Following the methodological approach, we tested the influence of social inequality on criminality rates for a sample of Brazilian states during the 1987-95 periods, using a panel data approach. The use of this method allows for estimators capable of taking into account the existing heterogeneity among states. The main result that emerges is that social inequality given by the Gini coefficient has a positive impact on criminality rates.

Keywords: Criminality; Targeted Consumption; Dissatisfaction and Panel Data. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 29 pages
Date: 2010-11
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