Cerulli, Giovanni, Maria Ventura, and Christopher F. Baum. “The economic determinants of crime”. Boston College Working Papers in Economics 948, 2018. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:107944.
Criminality has always been part of human social interactions, shaping the way peoples have constructed states and legislation. As social order became a greater concern for the public authorities, interest in investigating incentives pushing individuals towards engaging in illegal activities has become a central issue of the political agenda. Building on the existing literature, this paper proposes to focus on a few primary determinants of crime, whose effect is investigated using a Responsiveness Scores (RS) approach performed over 50 US states during the period 2000-2012. The RS approach allows us to account for unit heterogeneous response to each single determinant, thus paving the way to a more in-depth analysis of the relation between crime and its drivers. We attempt to overcome the limitations posed by standard regression methods, which assume a single coefficient for all determinants, thus contributing to the literature in the field with stronger evidence on determinants' effects and the geographical patterns of responsiveness scores.