Essays on the Economics of Crime: Determinants of Crime in an Urban Context

by Simón Planells Struse

Institution: Universitat de Barcelona
Year: 2015
Keywords: Seguretat ciutadana; Seguridad ciudadana; Public security; Delinqüència; Delincuencia; Crime; Vida urbana; City and town life; Ciències Jurídiques, Econòmiques i Socials
Record ID: 1125196
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10803/292241


In this thesis, I draw on these theoretical models from the criminological literature and on the empirical tools from the field of economics to analyze crime from the perspective of economics. I use the city of Barcelona, known worldwide for its ability to attract tourists, as my area of study. To the best of my knowledge, no similar crime research has previously been undertaken in this city and, therefore, the results of this thesis should provide interesting outcomes for policy makers.. In Chapter 2, entitled "Should football teams be taxed? Determining crime externalities from football matches", I begin by demonstrating the economic importance of Football Club Barcelona. I then analyze the effect of Football Club Barcelona matches on crime from a spatial perspective. That is, I first evaluate the effect of the number of spectators on crime (thefts and assaults) by comparing crime rates on match days, both home and away, and days that are very similar in all other characteristics apart from the fact that no match has been played. I analyze two types of crime given that their determinants are likely to be very different: first, I focus on thefts, where the concentration of people in space and time may introduce incentives, or reduce costs, to potential offenders; and, second, I focus on assaults (fights and brawls in the main), whose drivers would appear to be more closely related to hooliganism, i.e., unlawful behavior related to football matches, such as fights, drunken disorder or damage to the belongings/property of others. In the next step, I analyze the impact of a football match on the spatial distribution of crime, by carrying out an Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis (ESDA) of the census tracts around the stadium on football match days and on days free of football. Employing econometric models that account for the positive skewed distribution and the over dispersion of the data (e.g. negative binomial regressions), I analyze how the scheduling of a football match can modify the distribution of crime in the city of Barcelona. In the case of thefts, the results indicate an increase in the number of crimes for the whole city of Barcelona on home match days, especially, in those census tracts that are within a 1-km radius of the stadium. This suggests that despite the increase in the number of police officers deployed around the stadium, pick pockets are attracted to crowds where the rewards are likely to be higher and the probability of being detained lower. These results are confirmed by the placebo test that shows a lower number of crimes are recorded in the census tracts around the stadium when Football Club Barcelona plays away. In the case of assaults, a similar spatial pattern to that described for thefts is found, although the overall impact for the whole city is not significant. This result suggests that there is a marked displacement effect towards the census tracts around the football stadium from other parts of the city. This phenomenon would seem to reflect the hooliganism that is present in and…