The Effect of Social Connectedness on Crime: Evidence from the Great Migration

August 2017

Bryan Stuart and Evan Taylor

IIEP Working Paper 2017-24

Abstract: This paper estimates the effect of social connectedness on crime across U.S. cities from 1960- 2009. Migration networks among African Americans from the South generated variation across destinations in the concentration of migrants from the same birth town. Using this novel source of variation, we find that social connectedness considerably reduces murders, robberies, assaults, burglaries, larcenies, and motor vehicle thefts, with a one standard deviation increase in social connectedness reducing murders by 13 percent and motor vehicle thefts by 9 percent. Our results appear to be driven by stronger relationships among older generations reducing crime committed by youth.

JEL Classification Codes: K42, N32, R23, Z13

Keywords: crime, social connectedness, Great Migration

Leave a Reply

GW is committed to digital accessibility. If you experience a barrier that affects your ability to access content on this page, let us know via the Accessibility Feedback Form.