The Effect of Stolen Goods Markets on Crime: Evidence from a Quasi Natural Experiment

This paper investigates the effect of stolen goods markets on crime. We focus on pawnshops, a business that have long been suspected of illicit trade. The analysis of a unique panel dataset of 2176 US counties from 1997 - 2010 uncovers an elasticity of pawnshops to theft crimes of 0.8 to 1.4. We then exploit the raise in gold price as a quasi - natural experiment, where the intensity of the treatment is given by the predetermined concentration of pawnshops in the county. A one standard deviation increase in pawnshops’ initial allocation raises the effect of gold price on burglaries by 0.05 to 0.10 standard deviation. No effect is ever detected on any other type of crime.

Issue Date:
May 22 2014
Publication Type:
Working or Discussion Paper
DOI and Other Identifiers:
Record Identifier:
Total Pages:
Series Statement:
WERP 1040

 Record created 2018-04-02, last modified 2020-10-28

Download fulltext

Rate this document:

Rate this document:
(Not yet reviewed)