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Spatial crime patterns and the introduction of the UK minimum wage

By Kirstine Hansen and Stephen Machin

Abstract

In this paper we consider the connection between crime and the labour market in a different way to existing work. We focus on a situation where the introduction of a minimum wage floor to a labour market previously unregulated by minimum wage legislation provided substantial pay increases for low paid workers. From a theoretical perspective we argue that this wage boost has the potential to alter peoples’ incentives to participate in crime. We formulate empirical tests, based upon area-level data in England and Wales, which look at what happened to crime rates before and after the introduction of the national minimum wage to the UK labour market in April 1999. Comparing police force area-level crime rates before and after the minimum wage introduction produces evidence in line with the notion that changing economic incentives for low wage workers can influence crime

Year: 2002
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.ioe.ac.uk.oai2:3425

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