Reference : Isolating the incapacitative effect of social distancing on crime: Evidence from Ecua...
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Business & economic sciences : Special economic topics (health, labor, transportation…)
Isolating the incapacitative effect of social distancing on crime: Evidence from Ecuador’s Covid-19 lockdown
Mahe, Clotilde mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance (FDEF) > Department of Economics and Management (DEM) >]
Parra-Cely, Sergio mailto [Universidad San Francisco de Quito > School of Economics]
[en] Crime ; Covid-19 ; Ecuador
[en] Identifying the impact of incapacitation measures on crime, such as imprisonment or curfews, is
challenging since any such intervention simultaneously dissuades from engaging in illegal behaviour.
We exploit Covid-19 confinement measures as a quasi-experiment to isolate incapacitative from deterrent effects of mobility restrictions in a developing country, Ecuador. Difference-in-differences and event-study estimates show a significant reduction in violent and property crime, relative to comparable months in pandemic-free years. While the fall in violent crime is driven by rape cases, we observe no cross-crime substitution for property crime. Heterogeneity effect analysis indicates that the composite decline in violent crime is entirely attributed to incapacitation. In contrast, the drop in property crime is attenuated in provinces where the economic activity mainly relies on essential sectors and blue-collar occupations, leaving incapacitation to explain 40 to 50% of the composite decrease.

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