Jul 11, 2014

Immigration and Crime

There is an interesting papers in the American Law and Economics Review on this topic. The abstract:

What is the Contribution of Mexican Immigration to U.S. Crime Rates? Evidence from Rainfall Shocks in Mexico 
This paper identifies a causal effect of Mexican immigration on crime using an instru- ment that leverages temporal variation in rainfall in different regions in Mexico as well as persistence in regional Mexico–U.S. migration networks. The intuition behind the instrument is that deviations in Mexican weather patterns isolate quasi-random varia- tion in the assignment of Mexican immigrants to U.S. cities. My findings indicate that Mexican immigration is associated with no appreciable change in the rates of either violent or property crimes in U.S. cities.
And from the conclusions (p. 264)
These results are broadly consistent with those in the extant literature, which has tended to report either null or weakly negative effects of immigration on crime. The estimates are also broadly consistent with the empirical regularity that changes in the demographic composition of cities tend to only weakly predict changes in crime, conditional on fixed effects.

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