Economic Fluctuations and Violent Crime: The Effect of Change in the Oil and Gas Industry in the Coastal Regions of Louisiana

Asha D. Luthra, Louisiana State University
DeAnn K. Gauthier, University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Craig Forsyth, University of Louisiana, Lafayette
William B. Bankston, Louisiana State University

This research examines the relationship between changes in the economic environment and patterns of violent crime. More specifically, this paper examines the effect of fluctuations in the oil and gas extraction industry on homicide, assault, rape, and robbery during a twenty-five year period (1974-1998) in South Louisiana. The research is informed by previous literature on the impact of dramatic economic growth and decline (boom and bust) cycles on social disruption in communities due to the sudden change in their economic base. Indeed, it has been speculated that the expansion and contraction of petroleum extraction has had such an influence in the region. Using longitudinal data and controlling for disturbance variables, this paper addresses the direct and indirect effects of variation in oil and gas production on violent crime.

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Updated 05/20/2006