Crime and Mental Wellbeing

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IZA Seminar

Place: Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 9, 53113 Bonn

Date: 26.01.2010, 12:15 - 13:30


Presentation by 

Francesca Cornaglia (Queen Mary, University of London)


Most estimates of the cost of crime focus on victims. Yet it is plausible than an even larger cost of crime may occur via its indirect impact on the mental wellbeing of non-victims. To test how fear of crime affects individuals’ outcomes, we exploit detailed panel data on mental wellbeing, allowing us to observe the relationship between changes in crime in a local area and changes in the mental wellbeing of residents in that area (controlling for changes in local economic conditions). Our results suggest that increases in crime rates have a negative impact on the mental wellbeing of residents, with the biggest impacts arising from violent crime. We also find that local press coverage of criminal activity enhances the effect of crime on mental well-being. The effect of violent crime on the mental wellbeing of non-victims is only weakly related to the probability (based on observable characteristics) that the individuals will themselves be a victim of that crime.

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