Crime and social conflict in India

Sofia Amaral, Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, Samrat Bhattacharya, Rudra Sensarma


This article has two goals. First, using district-level panel data we identify key determinants of violent crime, nonviolent crime, and crime against women in India, 1990-2007. Second, using district-level variation in regard to Maoist-driven social conflict, we examine how social conflict affects crime and its determinants. In addition to conventional determinants of crime (e.g., law enforcement and economic variables), we examine how variation in sex ratios affects crime. We also study whether the gender of the chief political decisionmaker in each state affects crime. We find that improvements in arrest rates decreases the incidence of all types of crimes. Socioeconomic variables have relatively little explanatory power. We also find evidence that unbalanced sex ratios, particularly in rural areas, increase crime. The presence of a female Chief Minister diminishes violent crime and, especially, crimes against women. Finally, we find that in districts affected by the Maoist insurgency, all types of crime are lower and we offer explanations for why that may be the case.

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