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Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is the most violent region in the world. The region is home to 9 percent of the world population but has 33 percent of world homicides. During the last two decades, crime rates have been increasing in several LAC countries, imposing significant cost to societies and often making the problem of crime the primary concern of citizens in the region.
How large are the welfare costs of crime and violence in Latin America and the Caribbean? How can they be measured and how can they be reduced? Although this is a very important topic, the costs of crime and violence have not been systematically studied in the region. This book is the first step toward a systematic and rigorous analysis of the costs of crime and violence in LAC and is the first of its kind to provide estimates of these direct costs with the accounting method in a homogenous manner for a set of countries in the region.
The volume presents mainstream theoretical frameworks and econometric methodologies, standardized estimations, and lessons learned from public policy interventions. It first explores the characteristics of crime and violence in Latin America and the Caribbean and then focuses on methodological and conceptual issues that are key to an exhaustive understanding of crime and violence. Many important concepts are clarified and related, such as willingness to pay, contingent valuation, the types of direct, indirect, and intangible costs, and estimation methodologies. All of these will be useful for designing and implementing better policies in the future as well as for improving the allocation of resources and positioning this topic on the political agenda at the national and international levels.