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Crime, Unemployment and Labor Market Programs in Turbulent Times

Anna Nilsson () and Jonas Agell
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Anna Nilsson: Dept. of Economics, Stockholm University, Postal: Department of Economics, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden,

No 2003:13, Research Papers in Economics from Stockholm University, Department of Economics

Abstract: We exploit the exceptional variation in municipality-level unemployment and spending on labor market programs in Sweden during the 1990s to identify the impact of unemployment and programs on crime. We identify a statistically significant effect of unemployment on the incidence of overall crime, burglary, auto-theft and drug possession. A calculation suggests that the sharp reduction in unemployment during the later 1990s may have reduced burglary and auto-theft with 15 and 20 percent, respectively. After addressing several specification issues, we conclude that there is at best weak evidence that labor market programs ­ general ones and those specifically targeted to the young ­ help to reduce crime.

Keywords: crime; unemployment; labor market programs; panel data (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J00 K40 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 36 pages
Date: 2003-10-14
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-lab, nep-law and nep-ure
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