Portuguese Economic Journal

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 149–165 | Cite as

Crime and benefit sanctions

Original Paper

Abstract

In this paper we look at the relationship between crime and economic incentives in a different way to other work in the economics of crime field. We look at empirical models where a toughening of the unemployment benefit regime can be used to study how people on the margins of crime may react to changes in economic incentives. We present three sets of complementary evidence, all of which show that toughening the benefit regime can have an unintended consequence, namely increases in crime. The first approach presents quasi-experimental evidence, looking at crime rates in areas of England and Wales before and after the introduction of a new, tougher unemployment benefit programme—the Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)—in October 1996. The second approach considers qualitative evidence on individuals affected by the change in the benefit regime. The third relates changes in area crime rates to post-JSA sanctions. Each of these approaches uncovers evidence of higher crime occurring as a consequence of the benefit reform.

Keywords

Crime Benefit sanctions Jobseekers allowance JEL Classification H00 J65 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics, London School of EconomicsUniversity College London and Centre for Economic PerformanceLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London and Centre for Economic PerformanceLondon School of EconomicsLondonUK

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