Crime and Sniffles

Crime may be affected by the sniffling of potential criminals which may be affected by the amounts of pollen in the air, which might explain all sorts of things, suggests this new study:

More sneezing, less crime? Health shocks and the market for offenses,” Aaron Chalfin, Shooshan Danagoulian, and Monica Deza, Journal of Health Economics, vol. 68, December 2019, 102230. the authors, at the University of Pennsylvania, Wayne State University, and CUNY – Hunter College, explain:

“We consider the responsiveness of crime to a pervasive and common health shock which we argue shifts costs and benefits for offenders and victims: seasonal allergies. Leveraging daily variation in city-specific pollen counts, we present evidence that violent crime declines in U.S. cities on days in which the local pollen count is unusually high and that these effects are driven by residential violence. While past literature suggests that property crimes have more instrumental motives, require planning, and hence are particularly sensitive to permanent changes in the cost and benefits of crime, we find that violence may be especially sensitive to health shocks.”

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