Feb 5, 2013

Top income shares and crime (the US)

From a new paper by Brzezinski Michal (I did not find the full paper online): 
This article estimates the relationship between income inequality approximated by the top 10% and 1%income shares derived from income tax return data and nine crime categories for the US states between 1979 and 2003. We fail to find a positive relationship between inequality and crime, except for the case of the top 10% share and motor vehicle theft.


  1. There were 36 specifications: two measures of income inequality (top 10% income share; top 1% income share); two estimation techniques (FE, GMM); 9 categories of crime. Of these FE estimation showed inequality reduced property crime, burglary, larceny, violent crime, murder rates (but only for the top 10% measure rather than the top 1% measure), rape rates, and robbery rates (though only for the top 1% measure). GMM found nothing significant except for increases in motor vehicle theft. Maybe GMM is better than FE, but my eyeball across the tables says we might expect inequality on the whole reduces crime if anything.