Handbook on the Economics of Crime
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Handbook on the Economics of Crime

Edited by Bruce L. Benson and Paul R. Zimmerman

While few economists analyzed criminal behaviour and the criminal justice process before Gary Becker’s seminal 1968 paper, an enormous body of economic research on crime has since been produced. This insightful and comprehensive Handbook reviews and extends much of this important resulting research.
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Chapter 13: Corruption, Crime and Economic Growth

Benjamin Powell, G.P. Manish and Malavika Nair


Benjamin Powell, G.P. Manish and Malavika Nair* INTRODUCTION The relationship between corruption, crime and economic growth seems obvious to most people. Both crime and corruption increase uncertainty and the cost of doing business, so crime and corruption must discourage entrepreneurial activities that cause growth. However, the relationship between crime and growth and corruption and growth is much more complex than it first appears. Scholars studying corruption have theorized both how corruption can reduce growth but also how it can increase growth, for example, by avoiding bureaucratic delays. The results of cross-country empirical literature on the effect of corruption on growth are mixed. Recently a new literature has emerged controlling for the quality of institutions to examine the effect of corruption on growth. In the next section of this chapter we review the existing literature on corruption and growth, highlight some of the shortcomings in the literature, and then report on some of the newer studies that examine the interaction of institutions, corruption and growth. We believe this final strand of literature provides the most accurate view of how corruption impacts growth. High levels of crime can undermine the security of property rights and confidence in the rule of law. Both property rights and the rule of law have been illustrated to be vital for long-run economic growth. However, although there is a large literature on the cost of crime, we find almost no cross-country evidence on the impact of crime on growth rates. This is for good reason. What is...

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