Three Essays on Crime

Hernan Botero Degiovanni*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral Thesis


In this dissertation, I use the tools of economics to analyze two forms of crime --- property and violent crime --- in order to investigate three specific incentives that induce them. First, I develop a property crime model with secondary markets for stolen durable goods where agents can be thieves who steal durable goods to consume or exchange them for a profit, and non-thieves who can also demand stolen durable goods in the secondary market. The results indicate that the government must focus their resources to capture thieves on the streets in order to minimize their number in the economy. They also indicate that when the government focuses its efforts to control stolen property traders, the price of a stolen durable good increases, which in turn increases the number of thieves who want to consume the good. Second, I study the relationship between property crime and minimum drug consumption requirements. I use a crime model with an exogenous income distribution to determine the government's optimal drug supply control in the presence of drug addicts who might be induced to commit property crime to satisfy their minimum requirement of drug consumption. If the government does not have a budget constraint and aims to reduce the percentage of thieves in the economy, the minimum percentage of thieves is reached when the government spends on capturing thieves and not on seizing narcotics. If the government has a budget constraint and intends to minimize its expenditure on enforcement, minimum expenditure requirements make the government spend on both capturing thieves and seizing narcotics. This occurs when the government's budget is not enough to control the optimal percentage of thieves. Once the government has enough revenue to attain that optimal number, it subsidizes drug consumption. Finally, using the altitude of each municipality and distance from capital cities as sources of exogenous variation, I estimate the effect of drug enforcement on violence in Colombia. To test the latter hypothesis, I use drug and violence information on Colombian municipalities during the period 1999--2010. The results seem to indicate that both the Colombian government's enforcement activities and the war among drug dealers are important sources of violence in the country.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • West Virginia University
Publication statusPrint publication - 2013
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Three Essays on Crime'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this