Inequality and Crime in Latin America and the Caribbean: New Data for an Old Question

Mar 30, 2021

The purpose of this paper is to study the relationship between inequality and crime, with a focus on the Latin America and Caribbean region. We find a significant, positive, and robust association between these variables.

The results persist if one instruments for inequality with historical variables in crime regressions, suggesting that a causal interpretation of the estimated effect is reasonable. Moreover, inequality is the only variable showing this robust regularity. Education levels, economic activity, income per capita, and poverty show weaker and unstable relationships with crime. The analysis of the distribution of crime victimization indicates that men and youth suffer more crime than women and the elderly. By socio-economic strata, high-income groups suffer more victimization relative to poorer groups in LAC countries, but the poor suffer more homicides.

UNDP Around the world

You are at UNDP Latin America and the Caribbean 
Go to UNDP Global