DP6130 Ethnicity and Spatial Externalities in Crime

Author(s): Eleonora Patacchini, Yves Zenou
Publication Date: February 2007
Keyword(s): crime, ethnic minorities, social interactions
JEL(s): C23, K42, R12
Programme Areas: Labour Economics, Public Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=6130

We develop a model where the decision to commit a crime in a neighboring area is a positive function of the percentage of same-race individuals residing in that area since they can provide crucial information on crime possibilities. The model then predicts a positive spatial correlation in crime between different contiguous areas; this correlation is higher the closer the distance between the areas. We empirically investigate these relationships using data from the crime statistics that are recorded by the police in Britain. We find results that are consistent with the model. In particular, the agglomeration of a given ethnic minority group is positively related to its crime activity and this effect declines quite sharply with distance between areas.