Poverty and Crime in 19th Century Germany: A Reassessment

25 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2010

See all articles by Christian Traxler

Christian Traxler

Hertie School; Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Carsten Burhop

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods

Date Written: August 2010

Abstract

Using panel data for Prussia during 1882 to 1910, we replicate Mehlum, Miguel, and Torvik’s (2006) study on the causal effect of poverty on crime in 19th century Germany. In addition, our data set allows us to make several original contributions to the literature. We confirm the robust positive effect of poverty on property crime. Employing the rye price as a proxy for poverty, we show that the effect is less pronounced for provinces with a large agricultural sector. As Mehlum et al., we also find a strong negative impact of poverty on violent crime. However, once we account for beer consumption, this effect vanishes.

Keywords: Crime, Poverty, rye price, beer, weather, Prussia

JEL Classification: K42, I33, N93

Suggested Citation

Traxler, Christian and Burhop, Carsten, Poverty and Crime in 19th Century Germany: A Reassessment (August 2010). MPI Collective Goods Preprint, No. 2010/35, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1664936 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1664936

Christian Traxler (Contact Author)

Hertie School ( email )

Friedrichstrasse 180
Quartier 110
Berlin, 10117
Germany

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10
D-53113 Bonn, 53113
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschingerstr. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Carsten Burhop

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods ( email )

Kurt-Schumacher-Str. 10
D-53113 Bonn, 53113
Germany

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