Economic theory suggests that inequality should influence crime positively. Yet, the evidence in favor of that hypothesis is weak. Pure cross-sectional analyses show significant positive effects but cannot control for fixed effects. Time series and panel data point to a variety of results, but few turn out being significant. The hypothesis maintained in this paper is that it is a specific part of the distribution, rather than the overall distribution as summarized by conventional inequality measures, that is most likely to influence the rate of (property) crime in a given society. Using a simple theoretical model and panel data in seven Colombian cities over a fifteen-year period, a structural model is proposed that permits identifying the precise segment of the population whose relative income best explains time changes in crime.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)