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Journal Articles World Development Year : 2022

Murder nature: Weather and violent crime in rural Brazil


This paper examines the effect of weather shocks on violent crime using disaggregated data from Brazilian municipalities over the period 1991–2015. Employing a distributed lag model that takes into account temporal correlations of weather shocks and spatial correlation of crime rates, I document that adverse weather shocks in the form of droughts lead to a significant increase in violent crime in rural regions. This effect appears to persist beyond the growing season and over the medium run in contrast to the conventional view perceiving weather effects as transitory. To explain this persistence, I show that weather fluctuations are positively associated not only with agriculture yields, but also with the overall economic activity. Moreover, evidence shows the dominance of opportunity cost mechanism reflected in the fluctuations of the earnings especially for the agriculture and unskilled workers, giving credence that it is indeed the income that matters and not the general socio-economic conditions. Other factors such as local government budget capacity, (un)-employment, poverty, inequality, and psychological factors do not seem to explain violent crime rates.
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hal-03691432 , version 1 (20-02-2023)



Phoebe W. Ishak. Murder nature: Weather and violent crime in rural Brazil. World Development, 2022, 157, pp.105933. ⟨10.1016/j.worlddev.2022.105933⟩. ⟨hal-03691432⟩
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