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''Hunger makes a thief of any man'' : Poverty and Crime in British colonial Asia

Papaioannou, Kostadis LU (2017) In European Review of Economic History 21(1). p.1-28
Abstract
This study uses rainfall variation as an instrumental variable for rice production to estimate the impact of poverty on different types of crime across British colonies in South and South East Asia (1910-–1940). Using original primary sources retrieved from annual administrative and statistical reports, it provides some of the first evidence in a historical setting on the causal relationship between poverty and crime. Extreme rainfall, both droughts and floods, lead to a large increase in property crimes (such as robbery, petty theft, and cattle raiding), but not to an increase in interpersonal violent crimes (such as murder, homicides, and assault). In line with a growing body of literature on the climate-economy nexus, this study offers... (More)
This study uses rainfall variation as an instrumental variable for rice production to estimate the impact of poverty on different types of crime across British colonies in South and South East Asia (1910-–1940). Using original primary sources retrieved from annual administrative and statistical reports, it provides some of the first evidence in a historical setting on the causal relationship between poverty and crime. Extreme rainfall, both droughts and floods, lead to a large increase in property crimes (such as robbery, petty theft, and cattle raiding), but not to an increase in interpersonal violent crimes (such as murder, homicides, and assault). In line with a growing body of literature on the climate-economy nexus, this study offers evidence that loss of agricultural income is one of the main causal channels leading to property crime. Additional historical information on food shortages, poverty, and crime is used to explore the connection in greater detail. (Less)
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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
European Review of Economic History
volume
21
issue
1
pages
28 pages
publisher
Cambridge University Press
ISSN
1474-0044
DOI
10.1093/ereh/hew019
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
ff5533e0-9098-41fc-8fb7-8e963cefbae1
date added to LUP
2017-09-22 15:30:07
date last changed
2017-09-25 11:22:03
@article{ff5533e0-9098-41fc-8fb7-8e963cefbae1,
  abstract     = {This study uses rainfall variation as an instrumental variable for rice production to estimate the impact of poverty on different types of crime across British colonies in South and South East Asia (1910-–1940). Using original primary sources retrieved from annual administrative and statistical reports, it provides some of the first evidence in a historical setting on the causal relationship between poverty and crime. Extreme rainfall, both droughts and floods, lead to a large increase in property crimes (such as robbery, petty theft, and cattle raiding), but not to an increase in interpersonal violent crimes (such as murder, homicides, and assault). In line with a growing body of literature on the climate-economy nexus, this study offers evidence that loss of agricultural income is one of the main causal channels leading to property crime. Additional historical information on food shortages, poverty, and crime is used to explore the connection in greater detail.},
  author       = {Papaioannou, Kostadis},
  issn         = {1474-0044},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {1--28},
  publisher    = {Cambridge University Press},
  series       = {European Review of Economic History},
  title        = {''Hunger makes a thief of any man'' : Poverty and Crime in British colonial Asia},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ereh/hew019},
  volume       = {21},
  year         = {2017},
}