Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Life is now! Time Preferences and Crime: Aggregate Evidence from the Italian Regions

Beraldo, Sergio and Caruso, Raul and Turati, Gilberto (2013): Life is now! Time Preferences and Crime: Aggregate Evidence from the Italian Regions.

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Abstract

This paper tests the relationship between time preferences and crime rates as posited by Davis (1988), whose theoretical analysis suggests that individuals’ attitude towards the future significantly affects their propensity to commit crime. Our empirical analysis is based on a panel of Italian regions from 2003 to 2007. Various proxies for time preferences are considered: the consumer credit share out of the total amount of loans to households, the share of obese individuals out of the total population, the rate of marriages out of the total population, and the teenage pregnancy rate. Controlling for a great number of factors suggested by the scientific literature on the determinants of crime, adding to the model also time and regional fixed effects, and clustering standard errors to account for both serial and panel correlations, our results basically provide support to the ‘Davis’ hypothesis’ for property crimes, while for violent crimes there seems to be less evidence that these are higher where people discount the future more heavily. Moreover, there is no evidence of a reverse effect from crime to time preferences at this aggregate level.

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