Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 507523
Title "Hunger makes a thief of any man": poverty and crime in British colonial Asia
Author(s) Papaioannou, K.I.
Source Berkeley, CA., USA : Berkeley Electronic Press (BEHL working paper series )
Department(s) Rural and Environmental History
Publication type Working paper aimed at scientific audience
Publication year 2016
Keyword(s) subsistence crisis; poverty; crime; climate shocks; British colonialism; rural livelihoods; rice economies; agrarian societies
Abstract This study uses rainfall variation as an instrumental variable for padi-rice production to estimate the impact of poverty on different types of crime across British colonies in South and South East Asia (1910-1940). Using original primary sources retrieved from annual administrative and statistical reports, it provides some of the first evidence in a historical setting on the causal relationship between poverty and crime. Extreme rainfall, both droughts and floods, lead to a large increase in property crimes (such as robbery, petty theft and cattle raiding) but not to an increase in interpersonal violent crimes (such as murder, homicides and assault). In line with a growing body of literature on the climate-economy nexus, we offer evidence that loss of agricultural income is one of the main causal channels leading to property crime. Additional historical information on food shortages, poverty and crime is used to explore the connection in greater detail.
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