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Determinants of Criminality in Russia: Analysis at the Level of Federal Subjects

Student: Arsenii Shcherbov

Supervisor: Konstantin Kholodilin

Faculty: St.Petersburg School of Economics and Management

Educational Programme: Economics (Bachelor)

Year of Graduation: 2019

The crime issue always remains important because of its relation to social stability and security. There are few economic research works on the criminality in Russia. This paper is devoted to the investigation of spatial patterns in Russian regional crime rates. The aim of the research is to estimate the deterrent effect of police actions and unemployment on crime rates in the presence of spatial interactions. We estimate the spatial model for 5 categories of crimes, namely all crimes, thefts, robberies, brigandage and homicides, using panel data for 79 regions of Russia covering the years from 2010 to 2017. The results indicate that all types of crimes demonstrate significant spatial autocorrelation either through the dependent or independent variables. Western and Eastern parts of the country are divided into clusters with low and high levels of criminal activity respectively. Considered categories of crimes are persistent over time. The deterrent effect of police actions is negative and significant for all categories of crimes except thefts. For crimes involving property issues, the deterrent effect rises with the increase of severity. The estimated elasticities are larger compared to previous works on Russian crime rates. The evidence about the influence of labor market is mixed: there are positive indirect effects of unemployment for all crimes, robberies and homicides; the share of unemployed males aged 18-25 is positively related to thefts and negatively related to robbery and brigandage.

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