Economics professor James Jozefowicz and applied mathematics alumna Sarah Frederick ’15 co-authored an article titled, “Rural-Urban Differences in the Unemployment-Crime Relationship: The Case of Pennsylvania,” which was published in the Atlantic Economic Journal,
2018, Vol. 46, No. 2, pp. 189–201.
Jozefowicz and Frederick account for rural-urban differences in the unemployment-crime (U-C) relationship using a panel data sample of Pennsylvania counties during the period from 1990 to 2009. According to the analysis, urban counties experience the
expected negative criminal opportunity and positive criminal motivation effects of the unemployment rate on the crime rate. However, the findings for rural counties do not conform to U-C predictions. Controlling for demographic, socioeconomic, and
deterrence variables, the Oaxaca decomposition results suggest that if the structural factors in rural and urban counties were identical, roughly 12 percent of the total difference in their crime rates would remain as a crime rate advantage for rural
counties relative to urban counties.
Department of Economics