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Prices, policing and policy: the dynamics of crime booms and busts

Kirchmaier, Thomas ORCID: 0000-0002-8938-2206, Machin, Stephen, Sandi, Matteo and Witt, Robert (2020) Prices, policing and policy: the dynamics of crime booms and busts. Journal of the European Economic Association, 18 (2). 1040 - 1077. ISSN 1542-4766

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Identification Number: 10.1093/jeea/jvz014


In many historical episodes, criminal activity displays booms and busts. One clear example is the case of metal crime in the United Kingdom (and elsewhere) where, in the face of big increases in value driven by world commodity prices, thefts rose very sharply in the 2000s, after which they fell. This paper studies the respective roles of prices, policing and policy in shaping this crime boom and bust. Separate study of each reveals metal crime being driven up via sizeable and significant metal crime-price elasticities and driven down by changes in policing and policy. A regression-based decomposition analysis confirms that all three of the hypothesised factors considered in the paper-prices, policing and policy-were empirically important in the different stages of metal theft's boom and bust.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2019 The Authors
Divisions: Centre for Economic Performance
Financial Markets Group
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
K Law > K Law (General)
JEL classification: K - Law and Economics > K4 - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior > K42 - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2019 08:51
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:42

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