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Climate Variability and Theft in Colombia

Rafael Isidro PARRA-PEÑA S () and Barry Reilly ()

Archivos de Economía from Departamento Nacional de Planeación

Abstract: The objective of this study is to estimate the causal impact of the most recent extreme weather event (EWE) in Colombia (‘La Niña’ between 2010-2011), labelled as the ‘winter wave’ by the local media, on persons, houses, business and car theft rates in municipalities subject to the treatment of this EWE. Using a novel annual municipal panel dataset (2007-2012, inclusive), and measuring the affected areas according to the number of houses damaged and destroyed, this study relies on a Difference-in-Difference (D-i-D) model to show that the concurrent year of the winter wave brought a decrease in theft rates, especially, theft from persons. This may be perhaps attributable to the emergence of pro-social behaviour in the municipalities most affected. We also find an increase in theft from houses possibly linked to a ‘survival mechanism’, rather than one that one that seeks reward like the type the BECKER (1968) model of crime and punishment. In addition, the D-i-D estimates also reveal that the presence of conflict, in general, discourages theft perhaps due to the establishment of coercive institutions by illegal armed groups.

Keywords: Natural Disasters; Environmental Economics; Violence; Crime; Weather; Climate Variability; and Climate Change (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I3 O1 P48 Q51 Q54 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-dev and nep-env
Date: 2018-07-03
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Handle: RePEc:col:000118:016430