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


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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