Newsletter / Journal

Ideas for Development in the Americas, Volume 30: The Costs of Crime and Violence

EDITOR(s): Funaro, Rita
PUBLISHED: June 2013
RELATED TOPICS: Microeconomics
DOWNLOAD FILE IN: English Spanish


The crime and violence situation in Latin America and the Caribbean is dire and the costs can be astronomical for a region with many unsatisfied needs. This edition of IDEA draws from recent IDB research to present some of the eye-opening facts on violence in the region and policy options for dealing with it.

JEL Codes:

Related Research by JEL Codes:
(or click here to find research by JEL Codes)
  • The Effects of Punishment of Crime in Colombia on Deterrence, Incapacitation, and Human Capital Formation
    Working Papers
    IDB-WP-420 - July 2013

    Using individual data on persons arrested in the Medellin Metropolitan Area, this paper assesses whether the change in punishment at age 18, mandated by law, has a deterrent effect on arrests. No deterrent effect was found on index, violent or property crimes, but a deterrence effect was found on non-index crimes, specifically those related to drug consumption and trafficking. The change in crimin ... (View publication)

  • Crime, Punishment, and Schooling Decisions: Evidence from Colombian Adolescents
    Working Papers
    IDB-WP-413 - June 2013

    This paper uses a natural policy experiment to estimate how changes in the costs of engaging in criminal activity may influence adolescents’ decisions in crime participation and school attendance. The study finds that, after an exogenous decrease in the severity of judicial punishment imposed on Colombian adolescents, crime rates in Colombian municipalities increased. This effect appears to be lar ... (View publication)

  • The cost of crime in Uruguay
    Working Papers
    IDB-WP-408 - April 2013

    This paper uses cost accounting to estimate some of the costs associated with criminal activity and violence in Uruguay. Among the costs being considered are those of security and crime prevention; justice; incarceration and rehabilitation of prisoners; stolen goods; health care and loss of life resulting from violence; and costs associated with prisoners’ loss of productive time while in prison. ... (View publication)

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