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Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) Working Paper Series

No 602:
Racial Beliefs, Location and the Causes of Crime

Thierry Verdier () and Yves Zenou ()

Abstract: This paper provides a unified explanation for why blacks commit more crime, are located in poorer neighborhoods and receive lower wages than whites. If everybody believes that blacks are more criminal than whites - even if there is no basis for this - then blacks are offered lower wages and, as a result, locate further away from jobs. Distant residence increases even more the black-white wage gap because of more tiredness and higher commuting costs. Blacks have thus a lower opportunity cost of committing crime and become indeed more criminal than whites. Therefore beliefs are self-fulfilling.

Keywords: Self-Fulfilling Prejudies; Urban Black Ghettos; Crime; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: J15; K42; R14; (follow links to similar papers)

39 pages, October 21, 2003

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