Young Development Economists Webinar Series (YoDEV) – Nicolás Ajzenman (São Paulo School of Economics), February 25th at 2:30 p.m. (CET) 

Nicolás Ajzenman (São Paulo School of Economics)  on “Immigration, Crime, and Crime (Mis)Perceptions” (with P. Dominguez and R. Undurraga), jointly organised by the Department of Economics and Management of Università di Pavia, Università degli Studi di Milano – Bicocca e Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano. The webinar will be held on Thursday, 25th February 2021 at 2:30 p.m. (CET) via Zoom. 

Meeting ID: 831 2284 5812

Abstract: Does immigration affect crime or beliefs about crime? We answer this question in the context of Chile, where the foreign-born population almost tripled in five years. To identify a causal effect, we use two strategies: a two-way fixed effects model at the municipality level and a 2SLS model, which is based on immigration toward destination countries other than Chile. First, we show that immigration increases concerns about crime and public security. We then document a substantial effect on behavioral responses such as investing in home-security or adopting coordinated anti-crime measures with neighbors. Finally, we show that these concerns about crime seem ungrounded as we fail to find any significant effect on victimization. When exploring potential channels, we find suggestive evidence of the effect being driven by municipalities with a larger number of local radio stations per capita. Consistent with this, we show that the frequency of crime-related news on TV and newspapers is systematically higher when a homicide was perpetrated by an immigrant in comparison to a homicide perpetrated by a local. We also find that the effect seems to be larger when the composition of immigrants is relatively low-skilled. Finally, using an index of bilateral ethnic distance to measure ethnic-related intergroup threat, we show that the genetic distance between Chileans and the nationality of immigrants does not drive any effects.