Racial beliefs, location, and the causes of crime

Thierry Verdier, Yves Zenou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)731-760
Number of pages30
JournalInternational Economic Review
Volume45
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes

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