The Effect of Homicide on Local Rents

Max Besbris , Rice University
Jacob W. Faber, New York University (NYU)
John Kuk, Washington University in St. Louis
Ariela Schachter, Washington University in St. Louis

The collateral effects of homicide—that is, tolls on individuals and communities experiencing homicides in addition to loss of life—are numerous. While previous work has documented impacts on children and intergenerational mobility, we explore the effects of violent crime on a different economic outcome. Specifically, we use a unique geocoded and timestamped data set of advertisements for rental housing to examine the effect of neighborhood homicides on local rent prices. Using a difference-in-difference approach, we find that homicide decreases the listed price of nearby rental housing. Homicide reverberates throughout communities, affecting various aspects of individual and collective experience. Additionally, since homicides, and crime more generally, are geographically concentrated, understanding their wide-ranging effects helps explain broader, systemic differences across neighborhoods and how individual residents’ lives—including their economic conditions—are shaped by their geographic contexts.

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 Presented in Session 250. Spatial Inequality in the United States