Civil Wars and Criminality: The Spillover of Violence

Miguel Carreras


In this paper I address a negative externality of internal conflicts for neighboring countries: the rise in criminality associated with a civil conflict in a nearby state. I propose that two mechanisms may cause an increase in crime rates in countries located in the neighborhood of a war-torn country. First, the refugee flow leads to social tensions between the local population and the refugee groups. Second, the economic hardship created by the civil war in the neighboring country (disruption of trade, departure of investors). I test my hypotheses with panel data from the UN World Surveys on Crime Trends and Criminal Justice Systems (1970-1994). I run a simple fixed effects model and several robustness checks, and find empirical support for my arguments.

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International Journal of Criminology and Sociological Theory | ISSN : 1916-2782