Income inequality and crime: The case of Sweden

Författare: Anna Nilsson, Och

Sammanfattning av

Working paper


The degree of income inequality in Sweden has varied substantially since the 1970s. This study analyzes whether this variation has affected the crime rate using a panel of Swedish county-level data for the period 1973–2000. We con­sider various measures of income inequality to evaluate which part of the dis­tribution that matters most in determining crime rates. Our results indicate that there is a statistically significant positive effect of the proportion of the popula­tion with an income below 10 percent of median income on the incidence of property crime. Moreover, the unemployment rate has a posi­tive effect on the incidence of the number of overall crime, auto thefts and rob­beries. The results look different for the violent crime category as­sault.

Keywords: crime, income inequality, panel data
JEL classification: D31, I32, J00, K40