The crime kuznets curve
We document the existence of a Crime Kuznets Curve in US states since the 1970s. As income levels have risen, crime has followed an inverted U-shaped pattern, first increasing and then dropping. The Crime Kuznets Curve is not explained by income inequality. In fact, we show that during the sample period inequality has risen monotonically with income, ruling out the traditional Kuznets Curve. Our finding is robust to adding a large set of controls that are used in the literature to explain the incidence of crime, as well as to controlling for state and year fixed effects. The Curve is also revealed in nonparametric specifications. The Crime Kuznets Curve exists for property crime and for some categories of violent crime.
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