2019 Graduate Student Showcase

Title of Submission

Unemployment and Crime Dynamics: A Time Series Approach

Degree Program

Economics, MS

Major Advisor Name

Kelly Chen

Type of Submission

Scholarly Poster

Judging Session

10:30am - 12pm - Judging Session #2


The objective of this research is to explore the effect of unemployment on the crime rate in the state of Idaho. Previous literature commonly omits pro-cyclical and counter-cyclical determinants of criminal activity thus creating a correlation between unemployment and the residuals in aggregate crime regressions. I propose a model that builds upon two independent and counteracting effects (motivation and guardianship) to estimate the impact of unemployment on property and violent crimes. Using county-level panel data for the period from 2006 - 2016, I dis-aggregate crime data by type and unemployment data by age and then use an error correction model to test for short-term and long-term relationships. The model was also tested for sensitivity to the selected instruments. We expect the results of our model to signal a positive effect of unemployment on the crime rate. We also expect this effect to vary in magnitude depending on the type of crime.

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