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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.
Estimating the effect of inequality on crime is challenging due to reverse causality and omitted variable bias. This paper addresses these concerns by exploiting the fact that, as suggested by recent scholarly research, the legacy of slavery is largely manifested in persistent levels of economic inequality. Municipality-level economic inequality in Colombia is instrumented with a census-based ... (View publication)
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)
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)
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