Residential Segregation and Crime: An empirical analysis of the relationship between residential segregation and crime in the Stockholm region

University essay from Södertörns högskola/Nationalekonomi

Abstract: This thesis aims to examine if the rise in crime, in the suburbs of the Stockholm region, can be explained by the effect of residential segregation on behaviour. The main focus of this thesis is the three primary approaches to economics of crime; Freeman’s (1999) cost-benefit analysis, Wynarczyk’s (2002) theory on intersubjectivity and morals affect on crime participation, and finally Feldman and Smith's (2014) analysis of how morals effect good and bad people. To investigate if the rise in crime can be explained by the effect of residential segregation on behaviour, an experimental questionnaire containing six fictitious scenarios isused with the aim of functioning as an experiment in a simplified form. The participants are randomly selected residents from different suburbs around Stockholm, with different ethnic backgrounds and from allages above 15. The experiment generated the data of 348 participants in total, where the participants are placed in different fictional scenarios. In each scenario the participants have to choose whether they would choose to commit crime or not given the context. The scenarios are followed by a shorter section with background questions about gender, age, ethnic background and where in Stockholm they live. With the generated data from the second shorter section we were able to perform logit regression analysis to see the correlations. We found that foreign-born individuals were most likely to commit crime in most scenarios but domestic-born individuals with domestic-born parents were more likely to commit crime when placed in scenarios that were very realistic for those who lived in the exposed suburbs where segregation and crime is very high. However, this result was not statistically significant, which means that further study with more observations could be more informative. This implies that a solution to diffuse crime geographically could be to reduce segregation by having more advantageous nodes, which refers to individuals that are willing to move to neighbourhoods that do not consist of their own kind, and therefore break the structures of parallel societies and have a more integrated society with less crime. In order to establish all the factors that affect crime participation linked to segregation, further research is recommended

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