Income inequality and crime: The case of Sweden

Författare: Anna Nilsson, Och

Sammanfattning av Working paper 2004:6

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