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The Lasting Effects of Natural Disasters on Property Crime: Evidence from the 2010 Chilean Earthquake

Jorge Garcia Hombrados ()

Working Paper Series from Department of Economics, University of Sussex Business School

Abstract: Natural disasters cause human losses, destroy economic assets and are often followed by widespread looting and increases in altruistic behaviour; affecting ambiguously the long-term benefits and costs of crime. This study investigates whether the multiple consequences of natural disasters lead to lasting changes in property crime rates through assessing the effect on property crime dynamics of the 8.8 Richter Magnitude earthquake that struck Chile in February 2010. Using household data from victimization surveys and a difference in difference strategy, the analysis shows that exposure to a very strong earthquake intensity decreased by 1.1-2.2 percentage points the probability of home burglary the year of the earthquake. The effect remained stable over the 4 post-earthquake years studied. Similar effects of the earthquake are found for other property crimes including larceny and non-home burglary. The analysis of mechanisms reveals that the lasting drop in property crime rates in areas devastated by the earthquake seems to be linked to the positive effect of the earthquake on the strength of community life and on the adoption of community-based strategies to prevent crime in these municipalities.

Keywords: natural disasters; crime; informal guardianship (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: K42 Q54 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-env and nep-law
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2) Track citations by RSS feed

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Journal Article: The lasting effects of natural disasters on property crime: Evidence from the 2010 Chilean earthquake (2020) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:sus:susewp:1717

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