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Arch Hellen Med, 35(Supplement 1), 2018, 36-45


Is there an impact of economic recession on criminality?
Analyzing data from the recent international and Greek crisis

G. Konstantakopoulos,1,2 G. Tsouvelas,1 V. Kontaxakis1
1First Department of Psychiatry, Athens University Medical School, Eginition Hospital, Athens, Greece,
2Department of Psychosis Studies, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, UK

A substantial body of research indicates that certain socio-economic factors, such as poverty, income inequalities and unemployment, are strongly associated with criminality, violence rates and public health in general. Recent studies have shown that crime rates increase during economic recessions and decrease during recovery. However, the fact that these findings are controversial limits their generalizability. The current literature review examines the relationship of criminality with economic recessions and specific economic factors, as well as the new empirical evidence derived from the recent economic crisis, which intensely affected many countries worldwide. Most longitudinal studies make evident a clear impact of economic cycles on property crime but not on violent crime. Among specific macro-economic factors, the role of unemployment has been most thoroughly studied and a significant impact of unemployment on criminality, and especially on property crime, has been found. It is of great interest to compare the current international evidence, as well as the data form longitudinal studies, with the respective findings from the current economic crisis in Greece. During the years 2008–2014 in Greece, there was a significant and continuous increase in many but not all crime types. Divergences and peculiarities in crime rate changes observed during the recent international economic crisis could be useful material for further reflections and investigations on possible mediating factors in the relationship between recession and criminality.

Key words: Criminality, Economic crisis, Greece, Recession, Unemployment.

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