Internal migration and crime in Brazil

Produced by: 
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA)
Available from: 
December 2019
Paper author(s): 
Eva-Maria Egger
Topic: 
Conflict, Crime and Violence
Demographic Economics - Migration
Year: 
2020

Empirical evidence suggests that the social effects of internal migration may be substantially different from those associated with the arrival of international migrants. In this paper, I provide the first evidence of the effect of internal migration on crime with longitudinal data from Brazilian microregiões. Using local labour demand shocks in the manufacturing sector as an instrument for migratory flows, I find that a 10 per cent increase in the in-migration rate translates into a 6 per cent increase in the homicide rate in destinations. Exploring possible channels, I do not find that crime-prone migrants drive the results. The effect is only significant in locations with high past crime rates, indicating crime inertia, and in places with a small informal sector, suggesting that the impact of internal migration is conditioned by the ability of local labour markets to accommodate migrants.

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Research section: 
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