ACLE Empirical Legal Studies Seminar with Nadia Campaniello (University of Essex). Faculty of Law - Oudemanhuispoort 4-6 - Room F0.02. Title: "Uncovering the Gender Participation Gap in the Crime Market".
This paper is preliminary and incomplete. Please do not cite.
Using data from the U.S. National Incident Based Reporting System we document a gender gap in the number of crimes committed in the property crime market: only 30% of the crimes are committed by women. Research by economists is extremely limited in this field, although the issue is relevant per se and for its policy implications. We address this niche by looking at some potential reasons that might explain the gap. In particular we focus on differential incentives that men and women face when they decide to commit a crime. Starting from the classical Becker's model on crime we investigate some potential reasons for the participation gap looking at the differential incentives, measured in terms of earnings and probability of arrest. We observe that women obtain on average 32% less criminal earnings and face a 6% higher probability of arrest with respect to males.
Once we account for type of crime and the attributes of offending, such as weapons, we find that the earnings gap is zero on average, while females still face a 1% higher probability of arrest than males. Furthermore, we analyze the participation gap by looking at the perceived incentives. We estimate the elasticities of crime with respect to the expected earnings and to the expected probability of not being arrested for both genders. Females respond less to the monetary incentives and more to the non-monetary one (arrests). A Blinder-Oaxaca type decomposition technique shows that these difference can explain about one forth
of the gender crime gap. We find that, in a counter factual scenario where the female incentives converge to the male ones increase to the level of the male ones, women would commit an additional 12% more crimes than they actually do.
*Coauthored by Evelina Gavrilova (Norwegian School of Economics)