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Who wants Safer Streets? Explaining Concern for Public Safety in Brazil

Menno Pradhan () and Martin Ravallion ()
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Menno Pradhan: World Bank, Washington, and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

No 01-093/2, Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers from Tinbergen Institute

Abstract: This discussion paper resulted in an article in the Journal of Economic Psychology (2003). Volume 24(1), pages 17-33.

Public action to prevent crime is often driven by concerns about public safety. But what generatesthose concerns ? ]s it crime, or something else ? Using survey data for Brazil, we find that thedesire for greater public safety has a positive own-income effect, but a negative neighborhood-income effect; living in a poor area increases concern for public safety at given own-income. Theown-income effect is nonlinear, such that inequality attenuates the aggregate concern for greatersafety. Education raises concern, and strongly so when neighbors are poorly educated. Controllingfor these factors, we identify a significant causal effect of lack of public safety on the desire forgreater safety.

Keywords: Perceived public safety; crime; inequality; Brazil (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D12 D60 H41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2001-10-04
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